Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemists harvest light to create 'green' tool for pharmaceuticals

Date:
February 9, 2012
Source:
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Summary:
Researchers have created a new, “green” method for developing medicines. The researchers used energy from a light bulb to create an organic molecule that may be useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.

Ryan Spencer Shinabery, Soumitra Maity and Nan Zheng (from left) have created a new, “green” method for developing medicines. (Not shown: Mingzhao Zhu.)
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

A team of University of Arkansas researchers, including an Honors College undergraduate student, has created a new, "green" method for developing medicines. The researchers used energy from an ordinary 13-watt compact fluorescent light bulb to create an organic molecule that may be useful in the treatment of Alzheimer's and other brain diseases.

Related Articles


The finding, coauthored by Soumitra Maity, Mingzhao Zhu, Ryan Spencer Shinabery and Nan Zheng, is published in the current issue of Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

"Our chemical reaction provides a new structure, a new building block for pharmaceutical companies that has not been available before," said Zheng, an assistant professor of chemistry in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences who leads the team. "It's a very unusual scaffold, very lipophilic and non-polar, which is what you need to cross the blood brain barrier."

Visible-light photocatalysis, or chemical reactions sparked by visible light, are rare in organic chemistry, because most organic compounds can't readily absorb visible light. Instead, organic chemists typically rely on ultraviolet, or UV light, which has disadvantages.

"UV lights heat up very fast and waste a lot of energy. You'll also get a sunburn if your skin is exposed," said Shinabery, a senior honors chemistry student.

Postdoctoral student Mingzhao Zhu initiated the research with his effort to use light from a cheap, readily available light source -- a supermarket light bulb, in this case, although sunlight would work just as well -- to make an organic molecule useful to chemists. Using ruthenium, a metal that is active in the presence of visible light, as a catalyst, Zhu produced an unexpected and unstable organic molecule. Shinabery subsequently worked to identify the structure of the molecule.

"Spencer was able to reproduce the result and help us understand how the molecule was formed, which we needed to design a new reaction," Zheng said.

Maity, also a postdoctoral student, led the way in developing the new reaction, which is green thanks to efficiency as well as use of visible light.

"All of the atoms are converted to the product. There is no waste, no additives or co-catalysts, which makes the reaction very clean and atom economical," Maity said. Maity also succeeded in crystallizing one of the products, in effect sketching out its three-dimensional structure, which is critical should it be further developed in pharmaceutical applications.

Zheng and Maity are currently working on a new, even more powerful result: the use of a catalyst with visible light to create a carbon-nitrogen bond, one of the most common and important bonds used in pharmaceuticals and materials.

"People thought carbon-nitrogen bonds couldn't be formed this way; this will change people's perception of visible light photochemistry," Zheng said.

"I am working at all hours," Maity added. "I lose track of time, because the work is so exciting."

As for Shinabery, he is writing up his contribution to the finding as his senior honors thesis and weighing multiple offers from top graduate schools. Keywords: Research & Innovation Science Sustainability & Environment Contacts:


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Soumitra Maity, Mingzhao Zhu, Ryan Spencer Shinabery, Nan Zheng. Intermolecular [3 2] Cycloaddition of Cyclopropylamines with Olefins by Visible-Light Photocatalysis. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2012; 51 (1): 222 DOI: 10.1002/anie.201106162

Cite This Page:

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. "Chemists harvest light to create 'green' tool for pharmaceuticals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209143920.htm>.
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. (2012, February 9). Chemists harvest light to create 'green' tool for pharmaceuticals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209143920.htm
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. "Chemists harvest light to create 'green' tool for pharmaceuticals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120209143920.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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