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New uses for imidazolium salts in medicine and alternative energy
Date:12/2/2008

active oxygen species in the body."

Environmental stress triggered by an unhealthy lifestyle, such as excessive alcohol consumption, exposure to toxins and drugs, smoking and lack of sleep, may lead the body to produce superoxide radicals known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) that could cause cell damage through oxidation.

Oxidative stress from ROS is implicated in most diseases including cancer, heart disease, liver fibrosis, neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune disorders and aging. Radical scavenger antioxidants help to trap free radicals in the body's cellular system, thus attenuating the effects of ROS.

IMS is a precursor for N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHC). A naturally occurring form of NHC is thiamine or vitamin B, which plays a very important biological role. Vitamin B deficiency has been linked to oxidative stress. While natural antioxidants such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a green tea extract, have been known to slow down or prevent the oxidative process, they also exhibit low potencies and a rapid turnover in the body's metabolism.

IBN Principal Research Scientist Lang Zhuo, Ph.D., said, "Our investigations with hepatic stellate cells show that IMSs have more powerful antioxidant properties than EGCG, yet are remarkably less cytotoxic. They significantly decreased ROS levels in liver cells by 11% more than EGCG. In addition, IMSs are simple and inexpensive to produce. Therefore, they show great promise as a new type of antioxidant with potential biomedical applications."

In a separate study published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, IBN researchers successfully used IMS to develop a new catalyst system for converting sugars into 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a key compound used in biofuel chemistry and the petroleum industry.

Diminishing fossil fuel reserves and global warming effects have made the search for sustainable, renewable alternative energy sources a critical global conce
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Contact: Cathy Yarbrough
sciencematter@yahoo.com
858-243-1814
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Source:Eurekalert

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