Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemists Uncover Green Catalysts For Industrial Chemical Processes

Date:
April 17, 2009
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
Scientists have discovered useful green catalysts made from iron that might replace the much more expensive and toxic platinum metals typically used in industrial chemical processes to produce drugs, flavors and fragrances.

A University of Toronto research team from the Department of Chemistry has discovered useful "green" catalysts made from iron that might replace the much more expensive and toxic platinum metals typically used in industrial chemical processes to produce drugs, fragrances and flavours.

The synthesis of drugs usually relies on the use of catalysts and the expense of the catalysts influences the ultimate cost of the drug. If the catalyst is toxic, as it usually is when platinum-metals such as ruthenium, rhodium and palladium are used, then it must be removed completely from the synthesized product using costly purification techniques.

"With a cheaper and less toxic catalyst, like iron, these drawbacks are avoided," says Professor Robert Morris.

The successful use of iron as a catalyst in place of the more commonly used ruthenium is surprising since iron has been considered to be a "base metal" of low catalytic activity. The successful trick was to prepare a complex of iron with a structure similar to the most active ruthenium catalyst, says Morris.

Chemical catalysts are generally known for their ability to speed up a reaction but they can also influence the structure of the chemical that is produced in that reaction, says Morris. Catalysts used in the synthesis of a chemical used as a drug or fragrance are most valuable when they cause the production of the chemical in one structural form and not the mirror image of that form (i.e. producing a left-handed form and not the right-handed one).

The catalyst was made by attaching to iron, in its "ferrous" state, an organic molecule that contains carbon, hydrogen, phosphorus and nitrogen with the atoms arranged in exclusively a right-handed structural form. The catalyst is used in small amounts to convert a large amount of inexpensive ketone to a large amount of the valuable alcohol product in just the left-handed form. This process is called asymmetric transfer hydrogenation.

The study appeared online in Chemistry - A European Journal on April 9.

Their research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Petroleum Research Fund, administered by the American Chemical Society. The team leader and principal author is Professor Robert Morris. Other team members are Nils Meyer and Alan Lough. The group, which also includes Alexandre Mikhailine and Friederike Freutel, has applied for a patent to protect the invention through the University of Toronto's Innovation Group.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "Chemists Uncover Green Catalysts For Industrial Chemical Processes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090413185726.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2009, April 17). Chemists Uncover Green Catalysts For Industrial Chemical Processes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090413185726.htm
University of Toronto. "Chemists Uncover Green Catalysts For Industrial Chemical Processes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090413185726.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google Patents Contact Lens Cameras; Internet Is Wary

Google Patents Contact Lens Cameras; Internet Is Wary

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) Google has filed for a patent to develop contact lenses capable of taking photos. The company describes possible benefits to blind people. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 15, 2014) Pennsylvania-based Schramm is incorporating modern technology in its next generation oil-drigging rigs, making them smaller, safer and smarter. Ernest Scheyder reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dutch Highway Introduces Glow-In-The-Dark Paint

Dutch Highway Introduces Glow-In-The-Dark Paint

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) A Dutch highway has become the first lit by glow-in-the-dark paint — a project aimed at reducing street light use. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Buys Drone Maker, Hopes to Connect Rural World

Google Buys Drone Maker, Hopes to Connect Rural World

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) Formerly courted by Facebook, Titan Aerospace will become a part of Google's quest to blanket the world in Internet connectivity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins