Copper-mediated conversion of complex ethers to esters: enabling biopolymer depolymerisation under mild conditions

Ganyuan Xiao, James Montgomery, Christopher S. Lancefield, Isabella Panovic, Nicholas J. Westwood*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12397-12402
Number of pages7
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Volume26
Issue number54
Early online date3 Sept 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2020

Keywords

  • Biomass
  • Lignin
  • Mild depolymerization
  • TEMPO oxidation
  • Copper

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