Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Two catalysts made to work together: May lead to pharmaceuticals with less chemical waste

Date:
July 28, 2010
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
Much like two children in the back seat of a car, it can be challenging to get two catalysts to cooperate for the greater good. Now chemists have gotten two catalysts to work together -- something easily done by nature but a difficult thing to do in the laboratory. The findings will allow medicinal chemists to invent new reactions and produce valuable bioactive compounds faster with less impact on the environment.

Much like two children in the back seat of a car, it can be challenging to get two catalysts to cooperate for the greater good. Now Northwestern University chemists have gotten two catalysts to work together on the same task -- something easily done by nature but a difficult thing to do in the laboratory.

The findings, published by the journal Nature Chemistry, will allow medicinal chemists to invent new reactions and produce valuable bioactive compounds faster with less impact on the environment.

Catalysis is inherently green chemistry. Catalytic reactions typically employ a single molecule (a catalyst) to enhance a reaction or make a reaction possible that wouldn't otherwise be possible. Since a catalyst only needs to be used in very small amounts, the potential to control chemical processes while reducing waste makes catalysis very attractive. The Northwestern team wanted to see if they could turn a good thing -- a single catalyst -- into something even better by employing two catalysts.

"In our new approach, we discovered a pair of catalysts that work cooperatively to produce valuable compounds for biomedical research, which is important given the demand for new pharmaceuticals of all kinds," said senior author Karl A. Scheidt, the Irving M. Klotz Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. "Cooperative catalysis -- using two catalysts instead of just one -- will help us develop important compounds faster and with less waste. It also opens up an exciting new area of catalysis to explore."

Scheidt and his team started with simple stock chemicals and ended up with a number of compounds that are potentially bioactive and similar to each other. In the reaction, catalyst one (a magnesium salt that acts as an electron-deficient "Lewis acid") activates one molecule, and catalyst two (a mimic of thiamine, a carbene and an electron-rich "Lewis base") activates a second molecule simultaneously. The two activated substrates come together. The result is rapid, efficient and controlled production of large amounts of a molecule called gamma-lactam, a key building block for many pharmaceuticals.

On paper, the two catalysts should bind together and not be that effective as catalysts, but, it turns out, they don't interact that tightly. Instead, when there is a substrate for each catalyst, they work in tandem. Before this discovery, no one had identified an electron-deficient metal Lewis acid that works with a carbene. (A carbene is a highly reactive, transient molecule in which a carbon atom has only two bonds versus the normal four.)

"Nature employs a lot of catalysis -- to do such crucial biological transformations as acylations, oxidations and reductions, but it's hard to do what nature does in a flask," said Scheidt, director of Northwestern's Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery. "Getting two catalysts that are seemingly incompatible to work together is a significant advance. Now we have a great first step to realizing the full potential of this powerful cooperative catalysis strategy. Ultimately, this approach should allow chemists to combine simple components under catalytic conditions to generate new bioactive compounds of high value."

In addition to Scheidt, other authors of the paper are Dustin E. A. Raup, Benoit Cardinal-David and Dane Holte, all from Northwestern.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Dustin E. A. Raup, Benoit Cardinal-David, Dane Holte & Karl A. Scheidt. Cooperative catalysis by carbenes and Lewis acids in a highly stereoselective route to %u03B3-lactams. Nature Chemistry, 18 July 2010 DOI: 10.1038/nchem.727

Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "Two catalysts made to work together: May lead to pharmaceuticals with less chemical waste." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100728092627.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2010, July 28). Two catalysts made to work together: May lead to pharmaceuticals with less chemical waste. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100728092627.htm
Northwestern University. "Two catalysts made to work together: May lead to pharmaceuticals with less chemical waste." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100728092627.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
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