Phantom Reactivity in Organic and Catalytic Reactions as a Consequence of Microscale Destruction and Contamination-Trapping Effects of Magnetic Stir Bars

Pentsak E.O., Eremin D.B., Gordeev E.G., Ananikov V.P., ACS Catal., 2019, 9, 3070-3081.
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Magnetic stir bars are routinely used by every chemist doing synthetic or catalytic transformations in solution. Each bar lasts for months or years, as the regular PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) coating is believed to be highly durable, inert, and resistant to multiple washings and cleanings. By using electron microscopy, we found out quite unexpectedly that the surface of magnetic stir bars is susceptible to microscale destruction and forms various types of defects. These microscopic defects effectively trap and accumulate trace amounts of active components from reaction mixtures, most notably metal species. Trapped in surface defects, the impurities escape elimination by washing and cleaning, thus remaining on the surface. FE-SEM/EDX analysis shows that the surface of used stir bars is littered with contaminants representing a variety of metals (Pd, Pt, Au, Fe, Co, Cr, etc.). ESI-MS monitoring corroborates the transfer of the trace metal species to reaction mixtures, while chemical tests indicate their significant catalytic activity. A theoretical DFT study reveals a remarkably high binding energy of metal atoms to the PTFE surface, especially in cases of local mechanical disruption or chemical influence. A plausible mechanism of PTFE surface contamination is suggested, and the results show that metal contamination of reusable polymer-coated labware is greatly underestimated. The present study suggests that corresponding control experiments with an unused stir bar (to avoid misinterpretations due to the influence of contamination of magnetic stir bars) are a "must do" for reporting high-performance catalytic reactions, reactions with low catalyst loadings, metal-catalyst-free reactions, and mechanistic studies.

Pd and Pt Catalyst Poisoning in the Study of Reaction Mechanisms: What Does the Mercury Test Mean for Catalysis?

Chernyshev V.M., Astakhov A.V., Chikunov I.E., Tyurin R.V., Eremin D.B., Ranny G.S., Khrustalev V.N., Ananikov V.P., ACS Catal., 2019, 9, 2984-2995.
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The mercury test is a rapid and widely used method for distinguishing truly homogeneous molecular catalysis from nanoparticle metal catalysis. In the current work, using various M 0 and MII complexes of palladium and platinum that are often used in homogeneous catalysis as examples, we demonstrated that the mercury test is generally inadequate as a method for distinguishing between homogeneous and cluster/nanoparticle catalysis mechanisms for the following reasons: (i) the general and facile reactivity of both molecular M0 and MII complexes toward metallic mercury and (ii) the very high and often unpredictable dependence of the test results on the operational conditions and the inability to develop universal quantitatively defined operational parameters. Two main types or mercury-induced transformations, the cleavage of M0 complexes and the oxidative–reductive transmetalation of MII complexes, including a reaction of highly popular MII/NHC complexes, were elucidated using NMR, ESI-MS, and EDXRF techniques. A mechanistic picture of the reactions involving metal complexes was revealed with mercury, and representative metal species were isolated and characterized. Even in an attempt to not overstate the results, one must note that the use of the mercury tests often leads to inaccurate conclusions and complicates the mechanistic studies of these catalytic systems. As a general concept, distinguishing reaction mechanisms (homogeneous vs cluster/nanoparticle) by using catalyst poisoning requires careful rethinking in the case of dynamic catalytic systems.

Towards Improved Biorefinery Technologies: 5‐Methylfurfural as a Versatile C6‐Platform for Biofuels Development

Galkin K. I., Ananikov V. P., ChemSusChem, 2019, 12, 185-189.
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Low chemical stability and high oxygen content limits utilization of bio‐based platform chemical 5‐(hydroxymethyl)furfural (HMF) in biofuels development. In this work, Lewis‐acid‐catalyzed conversion of renewable 6‐deoxy sugars leading to formation of more stable 5‐methylfurfural (MF) is carried out with high selectivity. Besides its higher stability, MF is a deoxygenated analogue of HMF with increased C:O ratio. A highly selective synthesis of the innovative liquid biofuel 2,5‐dimethylfuran starting from MF under mild conditions is described. Superior synthetic utility of MF against HMF in benzoin and aldol condensation reactions leading to long‐chain alkane precursors is demonstrated.

Synthesis of 2-Azidomethyl-5-ethynylfuran: A New Bio-Derived Self-Clickable Building Block

Karlinskii B.Ya., Romashov L.V., Galkin K.I., Kislitsyn P.G., Ananikov V.P., Synthesis, 2019, ASAP.
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2-Azidomethyl-5-ethynylfuran, a new ambivalent compound with both azide and alkyne moieties that can be used as a self-clickable monomer, is synthesized starting directly from renewable biomass. The reactivity of the azide group linked to furfural is tested via the efficient preparation of a broad range of furfural-containing triazoles in good to excellent yields using a 'green' copper(I)-catalyzed azide–alkyne cycloaddition procedure. Access to new bio-based chemicals and oligomeric materials via a click-chemistry approach is also demonstrated using this bio-derived building block.

Switching the nature of catalytic centers in Pd/NHC systems by solvent effect driven non‐classical R‐NHC Coupling

Gordeev E. G., Ananikov V. P., J. Comput. Chem., 2019, 40, 191-199.
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A well‐established oxidative addition of organic halides (R‐X) to N‐heterocyclic carbene (NHC) complexes of palladium(0) leads to formation of (NHC)(R)Pd II(X)L species, the key intermediates in a large variety of synthetically useful cross‐coupling reactions. Typical consideration of the cross‐coupling catalytic cycle is based on the assumption of intrinsic stability of these species, where the subsequent steps involve coordination of the second reacting partner. Thus, high stability of the intermediate (NHC)(R)PdII(X)L species is usually taken for granted. In the present study it is discussed that such intermediates are prone to non‐classical R‐NHC intramolecular coupling process (R = Me, Ph, Vinyl, Ethynyl) that results in removal of NHC ligand and generation of another type of Pd catalytic system. DFT calculations (BP86, TPSS, PBE1PBE, B3LYP, M06, wB97X‐D) clearly show that outcome of R‐NHC coupling process is not only determined by chemical nature of the organic substituent R, but also strongly depends on the type of solvent. The reaction is most favorable in polar solvents, whereas the non‐polar solvents render the products less stable.

In situ transformations of Pd/NHC complexes to colloidal Pd nanoparticles studied for N-heterocyclic carbene ligands of different nature

Kostyukovich A. Yu., Tsedilin A. M., Sushchenko E. D., Eremin D. B., Kashin A. S., Topchiy M. A., Asachenko A. F., Nechaev M. S., Ananikov V. P., Inorg. Chem. Front., 2019, 6, 482-492.
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R–NHC coupling was previously considered as a process of degradation of M/NHC species, however recent studies have pointed out that it may be responsible for generation of catalytically active NHC-free complexes or/and metallic nanoparticles. Therefore, a detailed and systematic study of R-NHC coupling for various carbene ligands is an important topic. In the present article this process has been studied for reactive aryl iodide coupling partners by a combination of quantum chemical calculations and continuous reaction monitoring via pressurized sample infusion electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (PSI-ESI-MS). DFT calculations revealed strong tendency of (NHC)Pd(Ph)(I)DMF complexes bearing various N-heterocyclic carbene ligands (NHC) to undergo Ph–NHC coupling. Calculated energy barriers of these reactions lie in the range of 17.9 – 25.1 kcal/mol. Ph–NHC coupling is thermodynamically more favorable for the complexes containing unsaturated NHC ligands with bulky substituents. NBO analysis has suggested that the process of Ph–NHC formation is similar for different NHC ligands. In order to confirm theoretical studies, a series of ESI-MS reaction monitoring experiments was performed for (NHC)Pd(I)2(Py) and (NHC)Pd(Cl)(η3-1-Ph-C3H4) complexes interacting with iodobenzene, where Ph–NHC coupling products were observed in all cases. As a direct experimental evidence, formation of colloidal Pd-containing nanoparticles was observed in situ for different Pd/NHC complexes in the studied reaction mixtures.

Systematic Study of the Behavior of Different Metal and Metal-Containing Particles under the Microwave Irradiation and Transformation of Nanoscale and Microscale Morphology

Pentsak E.O., Cherepanova V.A., Sinayskiy M.A., Samokhin A.V., Ananikov V.P., Nanomaterials, 2019, 9, 19.
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In recent years, the application of microwave (MW) irradiation has played an increasingly important role in the synthesis and development of high performance nanoscale catalytic systems. However, the interaction of microwave irradiation with solid catalytic materials and nanosized structures remains a poorly studied topic. In this paper we carried out a systematic study of changes in morphology under the influence of microwave irradiation on nanoscale particles of various metals and composite particles, including oxides, carbides, and neat metal systems. All systems were studied in the native solid form without a solvent added. Intensive absorption of microwave radiation was observed for many samples, which in turn resulted in strong heating of the samples and changes in their chemical structure and morphology. A comparison of two very popular catalytic materials—metal particles (M) and supported metal on carbon (M/C) systems—revealed a principal difference in their behavior under microwave irradiation. The presence of carbon support influences the heating mechanism; the interaction of substances with the support during the heating is largely determined by heat transfer from the carbon. Etching of the carbon surface, involving the formation of trenches and pits on the surface of the carbon support, were observed for various types of the investigated nanoparticles.

Switchable Ni-Catalyzed Bis-Thiolation of Acetylene with Aryl Disulfides as an Access to Functionalized Alkenes and 1,3-Dienes

Degtyareva E.S., Erokhin K.S., Kashin A.S., Ananikov V. P., Appl. Catal. A Gen., 2019, 571, 170-179.
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The article provides the first example of metal-catalyzed aryl disulfide addition to unsubstituted acetylene. The use of inexpensive Ni(acac)2 precatalyst with phosphine ligands results in competitive formation of Z-1,2-bis(arylthio)ethenes and Z,Z-1,4-bis(arylthio)buta-1,3-dienes. The process with the PPhCy2 as a ligand results in selective formation of diene molecular skeletons. Replacement of PPhCy2 with the PPh3 switches the reaction toward formation of alkenes. The use of substituted phenyl disulfides does not affect the selectivity and allows obtaining alkenes or dienes in good to high yields. Mechanistic investigations reveal major differences on the catalyst activation stage depending on the nature of phosphine ligand. Key novel point is to carry out video-monitoring of catalyst evolution with electron microscopy, which revealed the dynamic nature of the catalytic system and showed that the ligand played a prominent role in formation of the catalytically active phase. For PPh3, the development of catalytically active species proceeds through nickel thiolate [Ni(SAr)2]n formation, which renders the system heterogeneous. In contrast to PPh3, the PPhCy2 ligand promotes direct activation of the catalyst in its molecular form without disturbing the homogeneous state of the system.

OX-1 Metal–Organic Framework Nanosheets as Robust Hosts for Highly Active Catalytic Palladium Species

Titov K., Eremin D.B., Kashin A.S., Boada R., Souza B.E., Kelley C.S., Frogley M.D., Cinque G., Gianolio D., Cibin G., Rudić S., Ananikov V.P., Tan J.C., ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2019, ASAP.
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A catalytic system based on OX-1 metal–organic framework nanosheets is reported, incorporating catalytically active palladium (Pd) species. The Pd@OX-1 guest@host system is rapidly synthesized via a one-step single-pot supramolecular assembly, with the possibility of controlling the Pd loading. The structures of the resulting framework and of the active Pd species before and after catalytic reactions are studied in detail using a wide variety of techniques including synchrotron radiation infrared spectroscopy, inelastic neutron scattering, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Crystals of the resulting Pd@OX-1 composite material contain predominantly atomic and small cluster Pd species, which selectively reside on benzene rings of the benzenedicarboxylate (BDC) linkers. The composites are shown to efficiently catalyze the Suzuki coupling and Heck arylation reactions under a variety of conditions. Pd@OX-1 further shows potential to be recycled for at least five cycles of each reaction as well as an ability to recapture active Pd species during both catalytic reactions.

Evaluation of phytotoxicity and cytotoxicity of industrial catalyst components (Fe, Cu, Ni, Rh and Pd): A case of lethal toxicity of a rhodium salt in terrestrial plants

Egorova K.S., Sinjushin A.A., Posvyatenko A.V., Eremin D.B., Kashin A.S., Galushko A.S., Ananikov V.P., Chemosphere, 2019, 223, 738-747.
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Until recently, chemical derivatives of platinum group metals have not been in a systematic direct contact with living organisms. The situation has changed dramatically due to anthropogenic activity, which has led to significant redistribution of these metals in the biosphere. Millions of modern cars are equipped with automotive catalytic converters, which contain rhodium, palladium and platinum as active elements. Everyday usage of catalytic technologies promotes the propagation of catalyst components in the environment. Nevertheless, we still have not accumulated profound information on possible ecotoxic effects of these metal pollutants. In this study, we report a case of an extraordinarily rapid development of lethal toxicity of a rhodium (III) salt in the terrestrial plants Pisum sativum, Lupinus angustifolius and Cucumis sativus. The growth stage, at which the exposure occurred, had a crucial impact on the toxicity manifestation: at earlier stages, RhCl3 killed the plants within 24 h. In contrast, the salt was relatively low-toxic in human fibroblasts. We also address phytotoxicity of other common metal pollutants, such as palladium, iron, nickel and copper, together with their cytotoxicity. None of the tested compounds exhibited phytotoxic effects comparable with that of RhCl3. These results evidence the crucial deficiency in our knowledge on environmental dangers of newly widespread metal pollutants.