What is an Epimer? – Definition in Chemistry & Examples

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Definition of an Epimer

First, we have to know that stereoisomers are pairs of compounds which have the identical chemical system and the identical atom connectivity, however they differ of their three-dimensional orientation. Think about when you had two shapes, a triangle and a sq., that each had the identical mass and have been each made out of the identical form of wooden. They’re the identical within the sense that they each weigh the identical and so they’re created from the identical supplies, however they’re two completely different three-dimensional shapes.

Epimers are a particular kind of stereoisomer which have a number of stereocenters, however solely differ from each other by the configuration at one of many stereogenic facilities. A stereocenter or stereogenic middle is a carbon atom that has 4 completely different atoms or teams of atoms bonded to it. Contemplate for instance the molecule referred to as ephedrine, which is used to fight low blood strain and deal with bronchial asthma.

Studying: what’s an epimer


Discover how the carbon atom labeled primary is bonded to a hydrogen, an alcohol group, a benzene ring, and one other carbon atom. equally, the carbon atom labeled quantity two is bonded to a hydrogen, a nitrogen, a methyl group, and one other carbon atom. Each of the atoms labeled one and two are categorised as stereocenters since they comprise 4 completely different teams bonded to them.

Examples of Epimers

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Let’s check out some particular examples of epimers to get a greater understanding of the right way to acknowledge them. Glucose is a standard sugar that circulates via our blood sugar and is usually known as blood sugar. There are two types of glucose, and the 2 varieties differ from each other solely within the relative configuration of a single -OH group.


Within the alpha model of glucose, the -OH group, highlighted in crimson, is pointing down, and within the beta model the identical -OH group is pointing up and to the proper. Discover how the entire different -OH teams in glucose are precisely the identical no matter if it is the alpha or beta kind. They solely differ from each other at that single stereocenter – that is what makes them epimers!

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