Working Party (1995-1997)
Notes for the user of this glossary

Working Party (1995-1997)

Chairman: Dr. M.W.G. de Bolster (Vakgroep Organische en Anorganische Chemie, Faculteit der Scheikunde, Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1083, 1081 HV AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands); Prof. R. Cammack UK); Prof. D.N. Coucouvanis (USA; Prof. J. Reedijk (Netherlands); Prof. C. Veeger (Netherlands)


The glossary contains definitions and (where needed) explanatory notes for about 400 terms used in the multidisciplinary field of bioinorganic chemistry. A need has been recognized for globally acceptable definitions of terms in this field and this glossary was compiled with the objective of fulfilling this need. It is by no means a comprehensive dictionary. The terms selected were those considered essential and/or widely used. The definitions given reflect current usage and complement IUPAC guidelines. Abbreviations and acronyms, frequently used in bioinorganic chemistry, are included.


The project of compiling a glossary of Terms in Bioinorganic Chemistry was started in 1991 on request of the Inorganic Chemistry Division of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. It was felt that in such a rapidly-growing, interdisciplinary field, communication would be greatly facilitated by standardization of terminology. The glossary is intended to provide a basic vocabulary of bioinorganic chemistry.

In compiling the approximately 400 entries, we have attempted to select terms which are directly relevant to bioinorganic chemistry, but which either a biochemist or an inorganic chemist might have difficulty to understand or define. This is particularly important where a term has different meanings in the two fields. To avoid repetition, the entries are extensively cross-referenced. We have omitted terms which are self-explanatory; terms occurring in standard English dictionaries; terms which are of minority interest, and terms for which the current definition is ambiguous or controversial. Where appropriate, the definitions have been extracted from other IUPAC glossaries and publications. Other descriptions given are believed to reflect current usage and no attempt has been made to introduce new nomenclature. Most of the entries are necessarily brief but should put the reader in a better position to seek further information.

The Working Party is pleased to acknowledge the contributions of many scientists who helped by proposing new terms, or suggesting improvements. We are particularly grateful to the following persons for their significant contributions :

B. Barata, T.M. Loehr, H. Sigel, B.K. Burgess, K.A. Magnus, E.I. Solomon, J.B. Dilworth, S. Mann, E.I. Stiefel, E. Fluck, A.D. McNaught, M. Thellier, P.L. de Haseth, P.J. Sadler, D.R. Williams, K.L. Komarek, A. Sigel, D.R. Winge, A. Kotyk

The Working Party is indebted to the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) for financial support.

Notes for the user of this glossary

Terms are arranged alphabetically, starting with a capital letter and printed in bold face. Extensive cross-referencing has been included, and italicized terms within individual definitions refer to other entries where relevant information is available. No distinction is made between singular, plural, etc. in cross-referencing. The appearance of a term in quotation marks in the body of a definition indicates that no further information will be found under that heading. Related terms are cited in the 'see also' form.

Abbreviations and acronyms used in the field are included in the glossary; their definitions are presented in the 'see' form. Nevertheless, abbreviations and acronyms should only be used after a full explanation of their meaning has been given.

Terms starting with a Greek letter are spelt out and placed alphabetically in the document. A compilation of these terms can be found under the entry 'Greek letters' and at the beginning of the document, directly after the terms that start with an (Arabic) numeral.


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