Mediating chemical reactions using polysaccharides

Lauren E Tyler, Tennessee State University


We have studied the NaBH4-mediated hydrogenation of select alkenes catalyzed by polysaccharide-stabilized nanoparticles. We compared the catalytic properties of Ni-based nanoparticles or Au/Co-based nanoparticles on the hydrogenation of cinnamic acid, cinnamide, cinnamyl alcohol, and ethyl cinnamate. We evaluated the possibility that the type of stabilizing polysaccharide surrounding the nanoparticle may affect the selectivity towards the alkene compounds that undergo the hydrogenation reaction. We found that the hydrogenation of cinnamide or ethyl cinnamate proceeded readily to 100% completion independent of the type of polysaccharide stabilizing the nanoparticle. However, the extent of the hydrogenation of cinnamyl alcohol and cinnamic acid varied greatly depending on the type of polysaccharide stabilizing the nanoparticle. In the course of these studies, we observed that some polysaccharides by themselves promoted the hydrolysis of ethyl cinnamate. Thus, we have raised the hypothesis that some polysaccharides may act as "esterases" and explored the interaction between select polysaccharides and a variety of ester compounds.

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Recommended Citation

Lauren E Tyler, "Mediating chemical reactions using polysaccharides" (2014). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI1557714.