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The Schiff Base Riff

by Greg Crowther


This song is about Schiff bases. A Schiff base is an organic compound in which the nitrogen (N) atom of an amino group is doubly bonded to a carbon (C) atom. The formation of a Schiff base is an important step in many biochemical reactions.


Come on, everybody, put your work aside;
Let's talk about amines and aldehydes.
If you put 'em together, here's what they spawn:
It's a carbon-nitrogen double bond.

We serenade that thing you've made
In the "Schiff Base Riff."

It sometimes forms as a transient state
When an enzyme binds to its substrate.
It sometimes carries positive charge;
It's sometimes small but usually large.

If you understand, then clap your hands
To the "Schiff Base Riff."

[clapping interlude]

All aminotransferases
Depend completely on Schiff bases
'Cause Schiff base bonds are how they mate
With pyridoxal 5'-phosphate.

And that's how we do chemistry
In the "Schiff Base Riff."

Yeah, that's how we do chemistry
In the "Schiff Base Riff."

N joins to C covalently
In the "Schiff Base Riff."

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