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Background Chemistry of Molybdenum

Molybdenum chemistry and biochemistry

Molybdenum is the fourth member of the second transition series and is placed with chromium and tungsten in Group 6 of the Periodic Table. In its chemical properties molybdenum resembles tungsten and vanadium, the first member of Group 5, rather than chromium. Chemically molybdenum is versatile, forming compounds in a range of readily interconvertible oxidation states, complexes with many inorganic and organic ligands including physiologically important compounds, binuclear and polynuclear species involving bridging ligands (oxide, hydroxide, sulfide) or direct metal-metal bonds between molybdenum atoms, and compounds in which the molybdenum coordination number ranges from four to eight.

P.C.H. Mitchell, Chemical and Engineering News, 2003, 81, 108: Molybdenum.
Molybdenum : an outline of its chemistry and uses, ed. E.R. Braithwaite, J. Haber. Amsterdam ; Oxford : Elsevier, 1994.
Mitchell, P. C. H. et al., (eds.), Proceedings of the Climax International Conferences on the Chemistry and Uses of Molybdenum, Climax Molybdenum Co. Ltd., London and Ann Arbor: First 1973, Second 1976, Third 1979, Fourth 1982, Fifth 1985.
Mitchell, P.C.H., in Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, 5th Ed., 1990, A 16, Chap. 7, pp 675 - 682 and references therein.

In biological systems molybdenum is an essential constituent of enzymes [Stiefel, 2002; Williams and da Silva, 2002] which catalyse redox reactions, e.g. oxidation of aldehydes, xanthine and other purines [Stiefel, 1996; Schindelin et al., 1996], and reduction of nitrate and molecular nitrogen. [Sellman, 1993; Kim et al., 1993; Burris and Roberts, 1993]. The biochemical importance of molybdenum is due to its ability (a) to provide facile electron-transfer pathways, a consequence of the easy interconvertibility of different oxidation states, (b) to form bonds with nitrogen-, oxygen-, and sulfur-donors which are sufficiently strong to permit the existence of stable complexes but also sufficiently labile to permit facile ligand exchange reactions or changes of molybdenum co-ordination number (as when interacting directly with a substrate).

Stiefel, E.I., The biogeochemistry of molybdenum and tungsten, Molybdenum and Tungsten: Their Roles in Biological Processes, 2002, 39, 1-29.
Williams, R.J.P. and da Silva, J. J. R. F., The involvement of molybdenum in life, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 2002, 292, 293-299.
Stiefel, E.I., Science, 1996, 272, 1599.
Schindelin, H., Kisker, C., Hilton, J., Rajagopalan, K. V.and Rees, D. C., Science , 1996, 272, 1615.
Sellmann, D., Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, 1993, 32, 64-67.
Kim. J, Woo. D, Rees .D. C., Biochemistry, 1993, 32, 7104.
Burris, R.H., Roberts, G.P., Annual Review of Nutrition, 1993, 13, 317-335.

Users of the Database should be aware that inclusion of an abstract in the Database does not imply any IMOA endorsement of the accuracy or reliability of the reported data or the quality of a publication.