Green Catalysts Can Clean Toxins And Pollutants
Toxins and pollutants present in the environment means we inhale them and consume them no matter what activity we are indulging in. Although our livers, kidneys, skin and lymphatic systems are constantly fighting against and eliminating these toxins and pollutants from our bodies the quantity has become daunting for our biological systems. With millions of tons of toxic pollutants being pumped into the atmosphere on a regular basis something drastic needs to be done in order to save the environment and consequently, us.
Carnegie Mellon University’s Terry Collins recently invented environment friendly catalysts called Tetra-Amido Macrocyclic Ligands (TAMLs) that can help industries clean up and eliminate pollutants and toxins. This can be termed as a prime example of “green chemistry”. Terry Collins believes that the small-molecule catalysts have the potential to be even more effective than previously proven.
During a recently held national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia Collins discussed how iron-TAMLs (Fe-TAMLs) work and threw light on further areas of research based on the evidence from mechanistic and kinetic studies of the catalyst. Made from the common elements of biochemistry, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen around a reactive iron core, Tetra-Amido Macrocyclic Ligands (TAMLs) are the first highly effective mimics of peroxidase enzymes (peroxidase can be used for treatment of industrial waste waters). When partnered with hydrogen peroxide, they are able to convert harmful pollutants into less toxic substances. Further, their composition ensures very strong chemical bonds that cannot be broken down by the highly reactive oxygen intermediaries formed during the reaction with hydrogen peroxide.
The Fe-TAMLs have a great potential to provide “greener” alternatives to existing, more “chemical” industrial practices of mitigating pollutants and toxins. The catalysts have especially proven effective in degrading estrogenic compounds, cleaning waste water from textile manufacturing units, treating pulp and paper processing byproducts, reducing fuel pollutants, and even decontaminating benign stimulants of anthrax.
The researchers claim that the catalysts can be further fine-tuned for even better performance.