Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The more the merrier

16.03.2011
Computational search algorithms take the guesswork out of understanding complex, multi-molecule transformations

Multicomponent reactions (MCRs) that chemically combine three or more molecules into a brand new product are faster and generate less waste than traditional step-by-step synthetic procedures, making them invaluable in efforts to improve efficiency and sustainability.

Since 1921, chemists have used an MCR called the Passerini reaction to produce bioactive, peptide-like chains made from three partners: carboxylic acids, carbonyl compounds, and cyanide-bearing molecules. However, a full understanding of this process has eluded researchers because its multipart workings are difficult to detect experimentally.

Now, Satoshi Maeda and Keiji Morokuma from Kyoto University and Shinsuke Komagawa and Masanobu Uchiyama from the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute in Wako have developed a computerized way to better identify the hidden mechanisms of one-pot, multi-step chemical transformations[1]. Their technique, the artificial force induced reaction (AFIR), systematically squeezes and joins model compounds together in order to rapidly detect signatures of real MCR energy barriers.

According to Maeda, detailed theoretical understandings of MCRs have been scarce because most calculations require excellent estimates of transition state structures—intermediate and often highly strained geometric arrangements between molecules that correspond to the energetic peak of a reaction barrier. “Consequently, a trial-and-error process based only on [chemistry-based] intuition is unavoidable,” he says.

The AFIR method, on the other hand, requires no such presumptions. Maeda explains that when two molecules are pushed into each other with a weak force, they spontaneously relax into ‘dents’ in the potential barrier created by attractive electronic interactions between the reactants. By methodically pressing over all possible orientations, and inducing an artificial reaction from the relaxed positions, AFIR searches can identify every stable reaction pathway in a system.

To the team’s surprise, applying AFIR calculations to the Passerini reaction revealed that four components, not the long-thought three, must be involved (Fig. 1). Since the reaction barriers were so high, the researchers realized that an additional carboxylic acid—a known proton transfer catalyst—had to participate in the transition states leading to the final product. This finding should enable design of Passerini reactions with improved structural selectivity, notes Maeda.

Once perfected, the researchers anticipate their technique will make MCRs even more widespread. “Unlike standard methods, giving only pathways that are easy to find, the AFIR method has a unique ability to find unknown pathways in MCRs systematically,” says Maeda. “Information on reaction pathways is very important even for processes that do not normally occur, because chemists can initiate such reactions by controlling conditions, modifying substituents, and introducing new catalysts.”

Journal information

[1] Maeda, S., Komagawa, S., Uchiyama, M. & Morokuma, K. Finding reaction pathways for multicomponent reactions: The Passerini reaction is a four-component reaction. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 50, 644–649 (2011).

gro-pr | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.riken.jp
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Tag it EASI – a new method for accurate protein analysis
19.06.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

nachricht How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries
19.06.2018 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Carbon nanotube optics provide optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries

19.06.2018 | Life Sciences

New material for splitting water

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>