In a research published in the journal Nature Chemistry, researchers explained the transformation, which involves the selective identification and replacement of molecular bonds with unprecedented accuracy. By expanding the types of new amino acids, this discovery may facilitate the creation of certain drugs.

The amino acids that make up our proteins are also sometimes used as building blocks in medicines. However, the creation of new artificial amino acids in the laboratory for pharmaceutical purposes can be an expensive and lengthy process.

One of the coolest applications of this study is that we have found a new way to produce unnatural amino acids. They are sometimes used in medicines to fight diseases, while avoiding the natural metabolism. And we can use these unnatural amino acids to create new complex molecules that target various diseases.

David Naguib, Professor of Chemistry at Ohio State University

Alcohol, however, is abundant and cheap.

To turn alcohol into amino acids, researchers experimented with alcohol at the atomic level. The alcohol molecule consists of three different elements – hydrogen, carbon and oxygen. Scientists have found a way to break the bond between certain carbon and hydrogen atoms to introduce a nitrogen atom, another most common element found in nature and medicine. Researchers have the opportunity to selectively change the carbon-hydrogen bond and add new elements there. This allows you to choose the correct bond molecules. And such an opportunity is important.

When chemists develop new drugs, they use molecules carefully assembled in a special way. Drugs target only the disease, and not other biologically important mechanisms.

In alcohol, there are pairs of identical carbon-hydrogen bonds, but these bonds are not identical in their spatial arrangement on the molecule. And now, scientists can use this to get amino acids with different three-dimensional shapes. They will allow the construction of new chemical structures to make drugs that work more accurately, causing less collateral damage.