April 15, 2009
New catalysts may lead to cheaper drugs
Canadian chemists say they have discovered
green catalysts made from iron that might replace more expensive and toxic platinum metals.
University of Toronto scientists said the newly discovered catalysts might become useful in industrial chemical processes used to produce drugs, fragrances and flavors.
With a cheaper and less toxic catalyst, like iron, these drawbacks are avoided, said Morris, who noted the use of iron as a catalyst in place of ruthenium is surprising since iron has been considered to be a
base metal of low catalytic activity. The successful trick, he said, was to prepare a complex of iron with a structure similar to the most active ruthenium catalyst.
The study, partially funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, appears in the April 9 online edition of the European journal Chemistry.