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Pharmaceutical Chemicals

Chemistry in Pictures: Industrial art

by Alexandra Taylor
March 5, 2019

 

20190305lnp20-industrialart.png
Credit: Courtesy of Lorenzo de Ferra
20190305lnp20-mesalazine.jpg

This white powder is 5-aminosalicylic acid, also known as mesalazine, an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat inflammatory bowel disease. Lorenzo de Ferra, scientific director of Chemi SpA, a manufacturer of pharmaceutical ingredients, observed that the crystals settled in the reactor being used to make the drug molecule “in elegant shapes reminiscent of those of a white flower.” The similarity is heightened “by the stirrer that is seen in the center and resembles its stem.” De Ferra’s colleague took this photo after discharging the powder from a slurry of the drug molecule and its crystallization solvent. The combined effects of gravity and the reactor’s movements created the pattern you see here.

Submitted by Lorenzo de Ferra

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Comments
Antonio Massa (April 3, 2019 6:54 AM)
Dear Author,
how important is crystal shape in pharma applications? Is it something you usually investigate?
Best regards
Antonio Massa
Lorenzo de Ferra (April 4, 2019 11:36 AM)
Dear Antonio,
it depends on the type and use of the pharmaceutical ingredient. For some products, crystal shape, dimension and polymorph type play great importance.
Best regards,
Lorenzo

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