Copper-mediated conversion of complex ethers to esters : enabling biopolymer depolymerisation under mild conditions
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Selective processing of the β-O-4 unit in lignin is essential for the efficient depolymerisation of this biopolymer and therefore its successful integration into a biorefinery set-up. An approach is described in which this unit is modified to incorporate a carboxylic ester with the goal of enabling the use of mild depolymerisation conditions. Inspired by preliminary results using a Cu/TEMPO/O2 system, a protocol was developed that gave the desired β-O-4-containing ester in high yield using certain dimeric model compounds. The optimised reaction conditions were then applied to an oligomeric lignin model system. Extensive 2D NMR analysis demonstrated that analogous chemistry could be achieved with the oligomeric substrate. Mild depolymerisation of the ester-containing oligomer delivered the expected aryl acid monomer.
Xiao , G , Montgomery , J , Lancefield , C S , Panovic , I & Westwood , N J 2020 , ' Copper-mediated conversion of complex ethers to esters : enabling biopolymer depolymerisation under mild conditions ' , Chemistry - A European Journal , vol. 26 , no. 54 , pp. 12397-12402 . https://doi.org/10.1002/chem.202000088
Chemistry - A European Journal
Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH GmbH. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DescriptionAuthors acknowledge the China Scholarship Council (G.X. studentship), the University of St Andrews (G.X. and J.R.D.M. studentships) and the EPSRC-funded CRITICAT Centre for Doctoral Training (studentship to I.P.; EP/L016419/1) for PhD funding. C.S.L. thanks the Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship (ECF-2018-480) and the University of St Andrews.
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