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Sukh Dev

Sukh Dev Lala, Indian organic chemist (Chakwal, today Pakistan 17 June 1923 –

Authored about 400 publications

Proposed  the absolute stereochemistry biogenetic rule and the rule that claims that exotic biological materials tend to produce exotic secondary metabolites

Enunciated the concept of steric diversion

First to study in a systematic manner organic reactions in a solid matrix

Discovered several new structural types in terpenoids

Isolated and determinated the stereostructures of new complex molecules such as himachalenes, cuparenones, kodocytochalasins and guggulsterones

With U.R. Nayak discovered the longicyclene, the first tetracyclic sesquiterpene (1963)

With H. Khan, A. Zaman, G.L. Chetty & A.S. Gupta discovered cheilanthatriol, the first sesterterpene  with the triterpene type ring-closure (1971)

Discovered bakuchiol, the first meroterpene derived from C8+C10 pathway

Discovered the guggultetrols, a new class of lipids

With A. Chawla obtained a new class of triterpenoids from Ailanthus malabarica (1967)

Developed new products as Guggulipid (hypocholesterolemic drug)


Devised several methods for synthesis and characterization of non-benzenoid aromatic systems and proposed novel systems with potential aromatic character

With A.S. Gupta first to introduce the use of silver nitrate-silica gel for thin-layer chromatography of olefins (1962)

Improved Lindlar catalyst for semihydrogenation of acetylenes

Developed a molybdenum oxide based Raney nickel catalyst for hydrogenation of glucose to sorbitol

Developed a copper-nickel-manganese catalyst for the hydrogenation of cyclohexanones to phenols 

With J.S. Yadav & H.P.S. Chawla. Cleavage of homoallylic alcohols, a novel fragmentation reaction. Tetrahedron Lett. 201, 1977

With M.C. Desai, C. Singh & H.P.S. Chawla. A novel method for functionalization of C-4methyl in terpenoids. A synthesis of cycloeucalanone. Tetrahedron Lett. 5047, 1979
With V.H. Kapadia, R. Seshagiri Rao & M.Y. Ansari discovered that the alkaloid colchicine could be sourced from Iphigenia stellate for commercial purposes (patented in 1971)