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Where has all the (-)-sparteine gone?

*Welcome Pipeline readers!  No really, if you have a dusty bottle of sparteine, we’ll probably take it 🙂

Our lab uses a lot of (-)-sparteine in enantioselective aldol additions, so we tend to buy large bottles which last us a while.  As such, we haven’t had to order (-)-sparteine in a while.  But our bottle is getting low (read: there are a few hundred microliters left), and it’s time to order more.

But it’s all gone.

All of it.

No one sells (-)-sparteine anymore.  Acros.  Fisher.  Alfa Aesar.  VWI.  Strem.  TCI.  I’m sure I’m missing some, since I don’t actually do the ordering.  Our ordering guy called Aldrich specifically, and was able to order three 10 mL bottles (probably the last available in the world).

Well, today we get a letter from Sigma-Aldrich telling us… they’re canceling our order.  They’re not selling it anymore either.

What is going on, here?  Anyone know why the major (-)-sparteine shortage?  Is this all of a sudden or has this been happening gradually?  Is this related to the acetonitrile pinch, or is this something different?  Anyone got any black market (-)-sparteine they want to, er, not sell to us?

By June 11, 2010 29 comments synthetic chemistry