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Environmentally friendly chemistry important for manufacturing pharmaceuticals
Date:11/8/2012

precious metals for non-precious alternatives also has a flipside. It was discovered during experiments with iron catalysis in conjunction with professor Carsten Bolm of RWTH Aachen University in Germany that some reactions thought to be catalysed by iron had actually been catalysed by traces of copper in the commercially available iron source.

The fact that traces of copper could catalyse a number of different reactions was surprising as copper had previously been thought to be an ineffective catalyst requiring large quantities and high reaction temperatures.

"Our results show that copper has been given an undeservedly bad name as a catalyst," says Per-Fredrik Larsson. "Given that copper chemistry is over a century old, it's surprising that nobody's realised this before."

It is important in the pharmaceutical industry to limit the use of catalysts as the quantity of metal in the end-product is strictly regulated and the recovery process can be both difficult and expensive. As such, the finding that small quantities of copper can be used is an important discovery.

"We've developed and studied reactions with small quantities of copper and tried to understand how and why they work," says Per-Fredrik Larsson.

The results and conclusions for iron and copper catalysts are a major contribution to this field of research and are important for its continued development.


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Contact: Per-Fredrik Larsson
per-fredrik.larsson@chem.gu.se
46-031-786-9104
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert

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