Researchers Discover Fungi-Derived Single-Atom Catalysts

May 13, 2024
Study demonstrates how biomass-derived SACs can catalyze the selective hydrogenation of nitroaromatic compounds.

Scientists from China, including researchers at Xiamen University, have developed a novel approach to fabricating high-performance single-atom catalysts (SACs) using fungi as a renewable precursor. Their study, published in a June 2024 issue of Chemical Engineering Journal, demonstrates how these biomass-derived SACs can catalyze the selective hydrogenation of nitroaromatic compounds with exceptional activity and selectivity.

While catalysts derived from precious metals like platinum and palladium have traditionally exhibited exceptional performance in facilitating nitroaromatic hydrogenation reactions, their widespread adoption in industrial processes has been hindered by high costs and inadequate selectivity toward desired products.

The researchers selected the fungus Trichoderma afroharzianum (TA) due to its unique attributes. Thanks to its self-assembling growth mode, TA possesses the inherent ability to spontaneously form a 3D crosslinked network structure in its hyphae, allowing for precise modulation of its size and composition by regulating growth factors like time, rotation speed and culture medium. Moreover, its simple culture method, cost-effectiveness and genetic elemental composition make TA a strong candidate for use as a carbon substrate, according to the researchers.

Taking advantage of these attributes, the team synthesized porous and hollow Trichoderma afroharzianum hyphae carbon fibers (TAHCF) through organism self-assembly, which could be prepared in large quantities by heat treatment. Notably, the abundant functional groups in the self-assembled TA hyphae enabled significant metal adsorption capacity, the research team noted.

By harnessing an abundant and renewable biomass source, this catalyst design strategy provides a sustainable and cost-effective approach to tailoring SACs for enhanced catalytic activity in various chemical transformations like nitroaromatic hydrogenation, according to the researchers.

Sponsored Recommendations

Heat Recovery: Turning Air Compressors into an Energy Source

More than just providing plant air, they're also a useful source of heat, energy savings, and sustainable operations.

Controls for Industrial Compressed Air Systems

Master controllers leverage the advantages of each type of compressor control and take air system operations and efficiency to new heights.

Discover Your Savings Potential with the Kaeser Toolbox

Discover your compressed air station savings potential today with our toolbox full of calculators that will help you determine how you can optimize your system!

The Art of Dryer Sizing

Read how to size compressed air dryers with these tips and simple calculations and correction factors from air system specialists.