Bergmann degradation

What is Bergmann degradation?

The Bergmann degradation technique is a stepwise process used for the degradation of polypeptides. This process involves the benzoylation of the polypeptide, followed by conversion to azides and treatment with benzyl alcohol.

Through this treatment, the azides undergo a rearrangement to form isocyanates, which then react with catalytic hydrogenation and hydrolysis to form carbobenzoxy compounds. These compounds ultimately yield the amide of the degraded peptide.

This method is useful in the analysis of polypeptides, as it allows for the stepwise degradation of the peptide chain and identification of its constituent amino acids.

Bergmann degradation
Bergmann degradation


Bergmann, M. “Synthesis and Degradation of Proteins in the Laboratory and in MetabolismScience 79 (2055), 439-45 (1934)
DOI: 10.1126/science.79.2055.439