Researchers Use Combination of Catalysts to Make Useful Compounds

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Researchers developed a new method that helps in making valuable compounds by using a combination of catalysts, according to a study published on August 16, 2018.

This study was conducted by the researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. All organisms rely on chemical reactions in order to make various natural products. Chemical reactions can be caused by a number of catalysts such as enzymatic or chemical catalysts.

Combinations of enzymatic and chemical catalysts are often used by the scientists to cause reactions that result in higher yields than what can be achieved with enzymes alone. Higher yields are beneficial when useful products are to be made. However, combining enzymatic and chemical catalysts is a difficult task. Then, Wang and Litman came up with an idea to combine enzymatic catalysis and photocatalysis.

Photocatalysis uses light to spur on a chemical reaction and is currently a popular research area. After studying various enzymes and photocatalysts, researchers found a pair that works together. This method was able to create a few important active pharmaceutical intermediates (APIs) for producing pharmaceutical drugs. The researchers are planning to discover combinations of photocatalysts and enzymatic catalysts for more chemical reactions.

Huimin Zhao, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering said, “There are many new photocatalysts for different types of reactions, and there are many enzymes. So I can see that this will stimulate researchers to develop new systems that can combine these two types of catalysts for making a wide variety of useful compounds.”

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