Journal: Chemical Communications
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Finding the sweet spot for sugar-converting catalysis
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Defects in the structure of metal−organic framework (MOF) materials can make ideal sites for the catalytic production of valuable industrial chemicals used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and biopolymers.
MOFs are porous crystalline materials with an atomic structure consisting of metal ions held together by organic linker molecules. In the zirconium-based MOF called UiO-66, each zirconium ion is in principle surrounded by eight oxygen atoms from the organic linkers around it. But at certain sites in the MOF, a linker molecule is missing, leaving a site on the metal open for catalysis.
A team led by researchers from Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology (VISTEC) has shown that these imperfections in the structure of UiO-66 can catalyse the conversion of D-xylose, a plant-derived sugar, into the valuable industrial chemical lactic acid.
By engineering the MOF to have even more defect sites, the team produced lactic acid in high yield and with excellent selectivity.
- Chemical Communications 56, 8019–8022 (2020). doi: 10.1039/d0cc03424j