Article | July 14, 2022
An enzyme-mimicking catalyst opens a new route to important organic molecules such as glycolic acid and amino acids from pyruvate, report researchers in Japan. Moreover, the new catalyst is cheaper, more stable, safer and more environmentally friendly than conventional metal catalysts used in industry, they note, adding that it also displays the high enantioselectivity required by the pharmaceutical industry.
“On top of these advantages, our newly developed organic catalyst system also promotes reactions using pyruvate that aren’t easily achievable using metal catalysts,” says Santanu Mondal, a PhD candidate in the chemistry and chemical bioengineering unit at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University, Okinawa, Japan, and lead author of a study recently published in Organic Letters.
“Organic catalysts, in particular, are set to revolutionize the industry and make chemistry more sustainable,” he stresses.
The researchers use an acid and an amine mixture to force the pyruvate to act as an electron donor rather than its usual role as an electron receiver (Figure 1).
Effectively mimicking how enzymes work, the amine binds to the pyruvate to make an intermediate molecule. The organic acid then covers up part of the intermediate molecule while leaving another part that can donate electrons free to react to form a new product.
Currently, the organic catalyst system only works when reacting pyruvate with a specific class of organic molecule called cyclic imines.
So, the researchers now are looking to develop a more-universal catalyst, i.e., one that can speed up reactions between pyruvate and a broad range of organic molecules.
The challenge here is to try to make the electron-donating intermediate stage of pyruvate react with other functional groups such as aldehydes and ketones. However, different catalysts create different intermediates, all with different properties. For example, the enamine intermediate created by the researchers’ new reaction only reacts with cyclic imines. Their hypothesis, currently being investigated, is that creation of other intermediates such as an enolate, if possible, would achieve a broader pyruvate reactivity.
In terms of cost, the researchers note that a palladium catalyst used in similar reactions is 25 times more expensive than their organic acid — which also is made from eco-friendly quinine.
In addition, they believe scale-up of the process for industrial use definitely is possible. However, the researchers caution that the current amine-to-acid-catalyst loading ratio of 1:2 probably would need to be optimized for better results at a larger scale.
Article | July 20, 2022
SEE THE END section of this blog post for a dystopian version of our environmental future. In a follow-up post – which I will publish on Thursday, 1 July – I will offer some suggestions about how we can avoid an outcome that nobody of course wants.Both posts are meant to be provocative, challenging and controversial because only through debate, and sometimes outright argument, will we get to the answers.
If you disagree after either or both posts have been published, great, that would be good. In fact, I would love to hear from you whatever your views at email@example.com. The petrochemicals industry can do this; we can fix this if we create the right forums for ideas and then solutions.
Let me provide the background first. Let me start by examining developments in the refinery industry and the implications for petrochemicals as important background. Then I will look at a sample of ICIS petrochemicals demand growth forecasts for 2020-2040. I will conclude by providing the bleakest of bleak outcomes for the world in 2025
Article | June 6, 2022
The chemical business is intricate, with numerous sub-sectors dealing with various challenges. Thus, there are some differences in the sector's main areas of digitalization. For instance, while specialty chemicals with smaller batches but larger profit margins are concerned with improving quality, large factories are concentrated on accelerating throughput speed.
To be able to react to quick and repeated changes in demand, supply, and working circumstances, however, every plant must optimize output, reduce waste, improve safety and sustainability, and become more nimble. Therefore, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud computing are expected to be the three most popular applications for digital transformation during the coming two years.
The first and most valuable use cases of digitalization in chemical plants center on production optimization through improved equipment performance, process automation, remote and predictive monitoring, and simplified maintenance.
Chemical factories, which often provide basic chemicals for use as end products in other sectors, have a special responsibility to maintain consistently high product quality. However, doing so can be challenging given the significant variations in raw material supply and quality. In addition, as process engineers can change the mix on the fly in reaction to fluctuations in quality, feedstock, or ambient temperatures, better data and analytics enable finer and more frequent adjustments.
The main advantage of digitally transformed plants so far has been cost reduction. The price volatility of raw materials is a problem for the chemical production sector because customers naturally want constant low prices. Minimizing waste is critical since facilities must contend with rising energy costs.
Analytics tools that monitor fluctuating raw material prices aid factories in negotiating the best deals with suppliers and preparing in advance for price spikes. The risk of oversupply is reduced since plants can prepare the proper quantities of various products thanks to more precise demand predictions.
Sustainability, Compliance, and Safety
The chemical industry is heavily regulated as a result of the quantity of hazardous chemicals and the number of end-use industries that rely on it. Businesses are adopting digital transformation to boost safety awareness, reduce emissions and dangerous flare incidents, and guarantee a transparent and accurate audit trail.
Plants that quickly adopt digital solutions for remote monitoring, supply chain visibility, waste reduction, production optimization, raising their safety profile, and opening up new opportunities will profit from higher profits and increased revenue, whereas those that hesitate for too long risk failing in the long run.
Article | August 8, 2022
Used to separate and analyze compounds into their various components— chromatography plays a crucial part not just in the food industry but in the realms of drug testing, forensics, and even quality control in our favourite alcoholic drinks as well.
Advanced Chromatography is an analytical technique introduced to the world by chromatography instrument companies to separate and analyze individual chemicals from complex compounds. Recent developments in the biotechnology and pharma industries have created a significant surge in the chromatography market.
Read on to find out five fascinating facts about the day-to-day applications of chromatography in various industries and why businesses are looking to invest more in OEM chromatography manufacturing.
Why are Industry-Decision Makers Adapting to Chromatography?
Liquid Chromatography; A Popular Choice in Drug Testing
Today, a lot of drug tests use liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry because it is easy to use, widely available, and gives quick results. LC and LC-MS can be done in almost any testing facility, which is different from other methods. It can be run by people with little training, so a testing facility can hire mostly technicians instead of highly trained scientists, who are harder to find. LC-MS is also very accurate, which means that there are fewer false positives.
With liquid chromatography, you can get results in about 10 to 30 minutes, which is very fast. This technology is used by many drug testing labs across the country. It is widely used and trusted for testing drug samples and many other things.
Businesses associated with the sports industry are leveraging chromatography to effectively and accurately test athletes for doping or performance-enhancing drugs.
Use of HPCL in Pharmaceutical Industries
Chromatography is used in the medical and pharmaceutical industries to create vaccines. In addition, chromatography can determine which antibodies best neutralize viruses and diseases.
Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Inc. used the chromatography technique to develop the experimental immunization Zmapp to counteract the deadly Ebola virus. And it is still being used today to fight the coronavirus.
The pharmaceutical industry has gained enormous success by exclusively using HPLC to obtain precise results during drug trials. The results can be used to analyze finished drug products and their ingredients quantitatively and qualitatively during manufacturing.
The Detector in Forensic Science
Chromatography methods are a well-established, powerful suite of methodologies in forensic science, from drug busts, murders, and robberies, to the identification of a plethora of chemical compounds that may be present in samples from terrorist incidents.
Forensics use gas chromatography to help solve crimes. It helps analyze blood and clothing samples, allowing forensic scientists to investigate who and what was present at a crime scene.
In particular instances, chromatography can even help forensic scientists pinpoint the exact whereabouts of the alleged perpetrator and victim before the crime happened. It’s an error-free process. Therefore, it is incredibly helpful in court.
Additionally, chromatography is extremely handy in arson investigations. Most fires have a virtual cocktail of different substances. Every compound and substance differs in size and weight. Chromatography helps break down these varying compounds and substances to help determine what exactly started the fire.
Liquid Chromatography in Food Industry
Liquid chromatography plays a vital role in the food industry nowadays. It absolves and permits the selective removal of a wide variety of flavor and non-flavor-active food ingredients.
The USDA, along with other countries, has prioritized rigorous testing of processed meat's contents. For example, in 2013, it was found that horsemeat was being sold as beef without anyone noticing. As a result, the food industry decided to change its analytical techniques.
Chromatography quickly became the best way to find out what was in processed meats. High-Performance Liquid Chromatography and mass spectrometry were used to ensure that meat labeled beef was actually beef. In addition, it could tell if horse meat was mixed in with the beef, which helped keep people safe.
Bio-Rad Fast Acid Analysis Column in Beverage Testing
Not just food, many beverage manufacturers also use chromatography to ensure that each bottle of their product is the same. But, again, consistent taste is the main priority. And knowing the exact content of each bottle is the most proactive way to measure things.
The Bio-Rad fast acid analysis column has been successfully used by many companies to quantitatively determine vitamin C in juices, fresh drinks, and powdered drinks.
Chromatography Market is Opening New Dimensions in Various Businesses
Undoubtedly, technological advancement has created a vigorous need for chromatography devices. According to Verified Market Research, growing at a CAGR of 3.4% from 2020 to 2027, the chromatography market is projected to reach USD 4.73 billion by 2027.
The chromatography instrumentation market is currently witnessing huge advancements in the design of columns. This is raising the demand for development of better analytical reagents and resins. Increasing collaborations among the existing players, specifically in the Asian market is another propelling factor for this market. Additionally, emergence of green chromatography, increasing usage of chromatography instruments for monoclonal antibody purification, and usage of nanomaterial in chromatography are also fuelling the growth of this market. Plus, increased government funding in research and development activities is further driving the market growth.
With various pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, chemical, food and beverage, and other industries contributing to its market growth, one thing is for sure— the increase in the chromatography system market is here to stay.