Hemin is a crystalline product of hemoglobin. By splitting in half
the molecule of bilirubin, a bile pigment related to hemin, Fischer
obtained a new acid in which a section of the hemin molecule was still
intact. Fischer identified its structure and found it to be related
to pyrrole. This made possible the artificial synthesis of hemin from
simpler organic compounds whose structure was known. Fischer also showed
that there is a close relationship between hemin and chlorophyll, and
by the time of his death he had nearly completed the synthesis of chlorophyll.
He also studied the yellow pigment carotene, a precursor of vitamin
A, and the porphyrins, which are iron-free derivatives of hemin widely
distributed in nature and secreted by humans in certain diseases.
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