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Green and Sustainable Solvents in Chemical Processes

The topic of green and sustainable solvents is of growing interest to industry, which recognizes the need to reduce solvent usage and to minimize the use of certain solvents of toxicological concern. This up-to-date review from the group of Hallett in the Chemical Engineering Dept at Imperial College, London has almost 500 references focusing on

Borrowing Hydrogen – a New Review

The concept of borrowing hydrogen (also known as Hydrogen auto-transfer) is a useful concept which combines transfer hydrogenation with other reactions to produce more complex molecules, exemplified by the alkylation of amines with alcohols and the reaction of benzyl alcohol with acetophenone to give 1,3 diphenylpropanone.   For the process chemist these processes seem to be

Purge Factor Calculations – in ICH Quality Guidelines

ICH M7 provides greater flexibility to assess the risk posed by Mutagenic Impurities.  This is described in section 8 – Control of the guideline and defined as a series of control options.  Of these Option 4 permits an applicant to present an argument for control based on the physico-chemical properties of a mutagen and the

New Small-Scale Photoreactor

As someone who did his PhD on photochemistry, I have always been surprised at how little photochemistry is used in making new molecules, given the unusual transformations that photochemistry can enable. However, there has been a resurgence in the use of photochemistry in the last decade in academic laboratories. But the equipment had hardly changed

Scale Up Conference Review

The Scale Up of Chemical Processes Conference, June 21st – 23rd 2017 took place in Rochester, NY. For a review of the event by sponsors Kodak Speciality Chemicals – Click HERE

Fluoride Sources for Halex Reactions

The halex reaction is a great way to introduce a fluorine atom in to an aromatic ring, but the reaction often requires high temperatures and or long reaction times if metal fluorides are used.  Tetralkylammonium fluorides are a better option due to their higher solubility in the reaction medium, however these salts are often hydrated


How many named organic reactions do you think we can find in biological systems? 10-20,  20-30,  30-40,  or 40-50? The answer can be found in this review in Angewandte¹. C.-I. Lin, R.M. McCarty, and H.-w. Liu, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2017, 56, 3446-3489.

Synthesizing Aromatic Nitriles via Cyanation

Cyanation of aromatic/heteroaromatic halides/pseudohalides is still not always a straightforward transformation, especially if the reaction needs to be scaled up. 2 Ar-X  +  Zn(CN)2  ®  2 ArCN  +  ZnX2 Workers at BMS have recently published a paper where they describe an improved protocol for this transformation1. They found that Pd2(dba)3 with XantPhos, Zn(CN)2 and i-Pr2NEt

Oxazole Synthesis from Acetylenes and Nitriles

Oxazoles are relatively common heterocyclic rings, but are not always the easiest rings to prepare by de novo synthesis.  Two recent papers describe new methods for the preparation of these compounds1,2. In the first paper1, a heterogeneous gold catalyst (MCM-41-Ph3PAuNTf2) is used prepare oxazoles from an acetylene, a nitrile with the oxygen atom coming from


Francis Arnold and her group have published a series of papers using modified Cytochrome P450 enzymes to cyclopropanate olefins with diazo esters1.  More recently they have used a related system to create chiral carbon-silicon bonds2. P.S. Coelho, E.M. Brustad, A. Kannan, and F.H. Arnold et al, Science, 2013, 339, 307-310; Z.J. Wang, H. Ranata, N.E.

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