Chemists forge green path to alkylated amines

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Chemists use alkylated amines to build plastics, pharmaceuticals, and more. Unfortunately, making these important building blocks on a large scale is energy intensive and relies on nonrenewable feedstocks. Now a team of researchers report a green approach to synthesizing the molecules.

Tao Yan, Ben L. Feringa, and Katalin Barta of the University of Groningen, describe an environmentally-friendly catalytic process that uses alcohols to add alkyl groups to amino acids harvested from microbes (Sci. Adv. 2017, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao6494). The method retains the chirality of the amino acids and releases water as its only waste product.

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