Open AccessArticle
Structural Changes of Highly Active Pd/MeOx (Me = Fe, Co, Ni) during Catalytic Methane Combustion
Catalysts 2018, 8(2), 42; doi:10.3390/catal8020042 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Fe2O3, Co3O4 and NiO nanoparticles were prepared via a citrate method and further functionalized with Pd by impregnation. The pure oxides as well as Pd/Fe2O3, Pd/Co3O4, and Pd/NiO
[...] Read more.
Fe2O3, Co3O4 and NiO nanoparticles were prepared via a citrate method and further functionalized with Pd by impregnation. The pure oxides as well as Pd/Fe2O3, Pd/Co3O4, and Pd/NiO (1, 5 and 10 wt % Pd) were employed for catalytic methane combustion under methane lean (1 vol %)/oxygen rich (18 vol %, balanced with nitrogen) conditions. Already, the pure metal oxides showed a high catalytic activity leading to complete conversion temperature of T100 ≤ 500 °C. H2-TPR (Temperature-programmed reduction) experiments revealed that Pd-functionalized metal oxides exhibited enhanced redox activity compared to the pure oxides leading to improved catalytic combustion activity at lower temperatures. At a loading of 1 wt % Pd, 1Pd/Co3O4 (T100 = 360 °C) outperforms 1Pd/Fe2O3 (T100 = 410 °C) as well as 1Pd/NiO (T100 = 380 °C). At a loading of 10 wt % Pd, T100 could only be slightly reduced in all cases. 1Pd/Co3O4 and 1Pd/NiO show reasonable stability over 70 h on stream at T100. XPS (X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy) and STEM (Scanning transmission electron microscopy) investigations revealed strong interactions between Pd and NiO as well as Co3O4, respectively, leading to dynamic transformations and reoxidation of Pd due to solid state reactions, which leads to the high long-term stability. Full article
Figures

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Sustainable Carbon Dioxide Photoreduction by a Cooperative Effect of Reactor Design and Titania Metal Promotion
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 41; doi:10.3390/catal8010041 -
Abstract
An effective process based on the photocatalytic reduction of CO2 to face on the one hand, the crucial problem of environmental pollution, and, on the other hand, to propose an efficient way to product clean and sustainable energy sources has been developed
[...] Read more.
An effective process based on the photocatalytic reduction of CO2 to face on the one hand, the crucial problem of environmental pollution, and, on the other hand, to propose an efficient way to product clean and sustainable energy sources has been developed in this work. Particular attention has been paid to the sustainability of the process by using a green reductant (water) and TiO2 as a photocatalyst under very mild operative conditions (room temperature and atmospheric pressure). It was shown that the efficiency in carbon dioxide photoreduction is strictly related to the process parameters and to the catalyst features. In order to formulate a versatile and high performing catalyst, TiO2 was modified by oxide or metal species. Copper (in the oxide CuO form) or gold (as nanoparticles) were employed as promoting metal. Both photocatalytic activity and selectivity displayed by CuO-TiO2 and Au-TiO2 were compared, and it was found that the nature of the promoter (either Au or CuO) shifts the selectivity of the process towards two strategic products: CH4 or H2. The catalytic results were discussed in depth and correlated with the physicochemical features of the photocatalysts. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Kinetic Modelling and Experimental Studies for the Effects of Fe2+ Ions on Xylan Hydrolysis with Dilute-Acid Pretreatment and Subsequent Enzymatic Hydrolysis
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 39; doi:10.3390/catal8010039 -
Abstract
High-temperature (150–170 °C) pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass with mineral acids is well established for xylan breakdown. Fe2+ is known to be a cocatalyst of this process although kinetics of its action remains unknown. The present work addresses the effect of ferrous ion
[...] Read more.
High-temperature (150–170 °C) pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass with mineral acids is well established for xylan breakdown. Fe2+ is known to be a cocatalyst of this process although kinetics of its action remains unknown. The present work addresses the effect of ferrous ion concentration on sugar yield and degradation product formation from corn stover for the entire two-step treatment, including the subsequent enzymatic cellulose hydrolysis. The feedstock was impregnated with 0.5% acid and 0.75 mM iron cocatalyst, which was found to be optimal in preliminary experiments. The detailed kinetic data of acid pretreatment, with and without iron, was satisfactorily modelled with a four-step linear sequence of first-order irreversible reactions accounting for the formation of xylooligomers, xylose and furfural as intermediates to provide the values of Arrhenius activation energy. Based on this kinetic modelling, Fe2+ turned out to accelerate all four reactions, with a significant alteration of the last two steps, that is, xylose degradation. Consistent with this model, the greatest xylan conversion occurred at the highest severity tested under 170 °C/30 min with 0.75 mM Fe2+, with a total of 8% xylan remaining in the pretreated solids, whereas the operational conditions leading to the highest xylose monomer yield, 63%, were milder, 150 °C with 0.75 mM Fe2+ for 20 min. Furthermore, the subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis with the prior addition of 0.75 mM of iron(II) increased the glucose production to 56.3% from 46.3% in the control (iron-free acid). The detailed analysis indicated that conducting the process at lower temperatures yet long residence times benefits the yield of sugars. The above kinetic modelling results of Fe2+ accelerating all four reactions are in line with our previous mechanistic research showing that the pretreatment likely targets multiple chemistries in plant cell wall polymer networks, including those represented by the C–O–C and C–H bonds in cellulose, resulting in enhanced sugar solubilization and digestibility. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Genetically Fused T4L Acts as a Shield in Covalent Enzyme Immobilisation Enhancing the Rescued Activity
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 40; doi:10.3390/catal8010040 -
Abstract
Enzyme immobilisation is a common strategy to increase enzymes resistance and reusability in a variety of excellent ‘green’ applications. However, the interaction with the solid support often leads to diminished specific activity, especially when non-specific covalent binding to the carrier takes place which
[...] Read more.
Enzyme immobilisation is a common strategy to increase enzymes resistance and reusability in a variety of excellent ‘green’ applications. However, the interaction with the solid support often leads to diminished specific activity, especially when non-specific covalent binding to the carrier takes place which affects the delicate architecture of the enzyme. Here we developed a broadly applicable strategy where the T4-lysozyme (T4L) is genetically fused at the N-terminus of different enzymes and used as inert protein spacer which directly attaches to the carrier preventing shape distortion of the catalyst. Halomonas elongata aminotransferase (HEWT), Bacillus subtilis engineered esterase (BS2m), and horse liver alcohol dehydrogenase (HLADH) were used as model enzymes to elucidate the benefits of the spacer. While HEWT and HLADH activity and expression were diminished by the fused T4L, both enzymes retained almost quantitative activity after immobilisation. In the case of BS2m, the protective effect of the T4L effectively was important and led to up to 10-fold improvement in the rescued activity. Full article
Figures

Open AccessCommunication
Co-Detection of Dopamine and Glucose with High Temporal Resolution
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 34; doi:10.3390/catal8010034 -
Abstract
Neuronal activity and brain glucose metabolism are tightly coupled, where triggered neurotransmission leads to a higher demand for glucose. To better understand the regulation of neuronal activity and its relation to high-speed metabolism, development of analytical tools that can temporally resolve the transients
[...] Read more.
Neuronal activity and brain glucose metabolism are tightly coupled, where triggered neurotransmission leads to a higher demand for glucose. To better understand the regulation of neuronal activity and its relation to high-speed metabolism, development of analytical tools that can temporally resolve the transients of vesicular neurotransmitter release and fluctuations of metabolites such as glucose in the local vicinity of the activated neurons is needed. Here we present an amperometric biosensor design for rapid co-detection of glucose and the neurotransmitter dopamine. The sensor is based on the immobilization of an ultra-thin layer of glucose oxidase on to a gold-nanoparticle-covered carbon fiber microelectrode. Our electrode, by altering the potential applied at the sensor surface, allows for the high-speed recording of both glucose and dopamine. We demonstrate that, even though glucose is electrochemically detected indirectly through the enzymatic product and the electroactive dopamine is sensed directly, when exposing the sensor surface to a mixture of the two analytes, fluctuations in glucose and dopamine concentrations can be visualized with similar speed and at a millisecond time scale. Hence, by minimizing the enzyme coating thickness at the sensor surface, dual detection of glucose and dopamine can be realized at the same sensor surface and at time scales necessary for monitoring fast metabolic alterations during neurotransmission. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Catalytic Degradation of Ortho-Chlorophenol Using Activated Carbon Modified by Different Methods
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 37; doi:10.3390/catal8010037 -
Abstract
The performance of activated carbon (AC) modified by different methods was compared for its catalytic degradation of ortho-chlorophenol (o-CP). For the chemically treated AC, the catalytic effect of AC–NH3·H2O was superior to the other catalysts examined, having
[...] Read more.
The performance of activated carbon (AC) modified by different methods was compared for its catalytic degradation of ortho-chlorophenol (o-CP). For the chemically treated AC, the catalytic effect of AC–NH3·H2O was superior to the other catalysts examined, having an o-CP removal efficiency of 82.2% at 330 °C. For the metal-modified catalysts, AC–V and AC–Co showed similar removal performances of 93.2% at 330 °C. N2 adsorption-desorption isotherms, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and gas chromatography—mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analyses were used to characterize the reaction products, and different reaction mechanisms were proposed for both AC–NH3·H2O and AC–V according to the results. Complete oxidative degradation of o-CP was achieved by AC–V, with AC–NH3·H2O leading to the formation of additional dioxins. It can be deduced that a risk of dioxin synthesis and escape during the regeneration process is possible when nitrogen-modified carbon is used in selective catalytic reduction (SCR) denitrification reactions, especially in the presence of chlorine atoms, benzene rings, and oxygen. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Surface Species and Metal Oxidation State during H2-Assisted NH3-SCR of NOx over Alumina-Supported Silver and Indium
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 38; doi:10.3390/catal8010038 -
Abstract
Alumina-supported silver and indium catalysts are investigated for the hydrogen-assisted selective catalytic reduction (SCR) of NOx with ammonia. Particularly, we focus on the active phase of the catalyst and the formation of surface species, as a function of the gas environment. Diffuse
[...] Read more.
Alumina-supported silver and indium catalysts are investigated for the hydrogen-assisted selective catalytic reduction (SCR) of NOx with ammonia. Particularly, we focus on the active phase of the catalyst and the formation of surface species, as a function of the gas environment. Diffuse reflectance ultraviolet-visible (UV-vis) spectroscopy was used to follow the oxidation state of the silver and indium phases, and in situ diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy (DRIFTS) was used to elucidate the formation of surface species during SCR conditions. In addition, the NOx reduction efficiency of the materials was evaluated using H2-assisted NH3-SCR. The DRIFTS results show that the Ag/Al2O3 sample forms NO-containing surface species during SCR conditions to a higher extent compared to the In/Al2O3 sample. The silver sample also appears to be more reduced by H2 than the indium sample, as revealed by UV-vis spectroscopic experiments. Addition of H2, however, may promote the formation of highly dispersed In2O3 clusters, which previously have been suggested to be important for the SCR reaction. The affinity to adsorb NH3 is confirmed by both temperature programmed desorption (NH3-TPD) and in situ DRIFTS to be higher for the In/Al2O3 sample compared to Ag/Al2O3. The strong adsorption of NH3 may inhibit (self-poison) the NH3 activation, thereby hindering further reaction over this catalyst, which is also shown by the lower SCR activity compared to Ag/Al2O3. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Preparation and Performance of Modified Red Mud-Based Catalysts for Selective Catalytic Reduction of NOx with NH3
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 35; doi:10.3390/catal8010035 -
Abstract
Bayer red mud was selected, and the NH3-SCR activity was tested in a fixed bed in which the typical flue gas atmosphere was simulated. Combined with XRF, XRD, BET, SEM, TG and NH3-Temperature Programmed Desorption (TPD) characterization, the denitration
[...] Read more.
Bayer red mud was selected, and the NH3-SCR activity was tested in a fixed bed in which the typical flue gas atmosphere was simulated. Combined with XRF, XRD, BET, SEM, TG and NH3-Temperature Programmed Desorption (TPD) characterization, the denitration characteristics of Ce-doped red mud catalysts were studied on the basis of alkali-removed red mud. The results showed that typical red mud was a feasible material for denitration catalyst. Acid washing and calcining comprised the best treatment process for raw red mud, which reduced the content of alkaline substances, cleared the catalyst pore and optimized the particle morphology with dispersion. In the temperature range of 300–400 °C, the denitrification efficiency of calcined acid washing of red mud catalyst (ARM) was more than 70%. The doping of Ce significantly enhanced NH3 adsorption from weak, medium and strong acid sites, reduced the crystallinity of α-Fe2O3 in ARM, optimized the specific surface area and broadened the active temperature window, which increased the NOx conversion rate by an average of nearly 20% points from 250–350 °C. The denitration efficiency of Ce0.3/ARM at 300 °C was as high as 88%. The optimum conditions for the denitration reaction of the Ce0.3/ARM catalyst were controlled as follows: Gas Hourly Space Velocity (GHSV) of 30,000 h−1, O2 volume fraction of 3.5–4% and the NH3/NO molar ratio ([NH3/NO]) of 1.0. The presence of SO2 in the feed had an irreversible negative effect on the activity of the Ce0.3/ARM catalyst. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Catalytic Activity of Sulfated and Phosphated Catalysts towards the Synthesis of Substituted Coumarin
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 36; doi:10.3390/catal8010036 -
Abstract
New modified acidic catalysts were prepared from the treatment of silica, titania and silica prepared from hydrolyzed tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) with sulfuric and phosphoric acid. The sulfated and phosphated silica synthesized from TEOS were calcined at 450 and 650 °C. These catalysts were
[...] Read more.
New modified acidic catalysts were prepared from the treatment of silica, titania and silica prepared from hydrolyzed tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) with sulfuric and phosphoric acid. The sulfated and phosphated silica synthesized from TEOS were calcined at 450 and 650 °C. These catalysts were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), transmission electron microscope (TEM), and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The surface areas, total pore volume, and mean pore radius of the acidic catalysts were investigated, while the pore size distribution was determined by the Barrett, Joyner and Halenda (BJH) method. The catalytic activity of the sulfated and phosphated silica and/or titania were examined with the Pechmann condensation reaction, in which different phenols reacted with ethyl acetoacetate as a neat reaction to obtain the corresponding coumarin derivatives. The results indicated that the treatment of the catalysts with sulfuric or phosphoric acid led to a decrease in the phases’ crystallinity to a certain degree. The morphology and the structure of the acidified catalysts were examined and their particle size was calculated. Furthermore, the amount of the used catalysts played a vital role in controlling the formation of the products as well as their performance was manipulated by the number and nature of the active acidic sites on their surfaces. The obtained results suggested that the highest catalytic conversion of the reaction was attained at 20 wt % of the catalyst and no further increase in the product yield was detected when the amount of catalyst exceeded this value. Meanwhile the phenol molecules were a key feature in obtaining the final product. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
“Deceived” Concentrated Immobilized Cells as Biocatalyst for Intensive Bacterial Cellulose Production from Various Sources
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 33; doi:10.3390/catal8010033 -
Abstract
A new biocatalyst in the form of Komagataeibacter xylinum B-12429 cells immobilized in poly(vinyl alcohol) cryogel for production of bacterial cellulose was demonstrated. Normally, the increased bacteria concentration causes an enlarged bacterial cellulose synthesis while cells push the polysaccharide out to pack themselves
[...] Read more.
A new biocatalyst in the form of Komagataeibacter xylinum B-12429 cells immobilized in poly(vinyl alcohol) cryogel for production of bacterial cellulose was demonstrated. Normally, the increased bacteria concentration causes an enlarged bacterial cellulose synthesis while cells push the polysaccharide out to pack themselves into this polymer and go into a stasis. Immobilization of cells into the poly(vinyl alcohol) cryogel allowed “deceiving” them: bacteria producing cellulose pushed it out, which further passed through the pores of cryogel matrix and was accumulated in the medium while not covering the cells; hence, the latter were deprived of a possible transition to inactivity and worked on the synthesis of bacterial cellulose even more actively. The repeated use of immobilized cells retaining 100% of their metabolic activity for at least 10 working cycles (60 days) was performed. The immobilized cells produce bacterial cellulose with crystallinity and porosity similar to polysaccharide of free cells, but having improved stiffness and tensile strength. Various media containing sugars and glycerol, based on hydrolysates of renewable biomass sources (aspen, Jerusalem artichoke, rice straw, microalgae) were successfully applied for bacterial cellulose production by immobilized cells, and the level of polysaccharide accumulation was 1.3–1.8-times greater than suspended cells could produce. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Chloroperoxidase-Mediated Halogenation of Selected Pharmaceutical Micropollutants
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 32; doi:10.3390/catal8010032 -
Abstract
The oxidation of eight pharmaceutical micropollutants by chloroperoxidase derived from Caldaromyces fumago using hydrogen peroxide as an electron acceptor is reported. All the tested compounds, namely trazadone, sulfamethoxazole, naproxen, tetracycline, estradiol, ketoconazole, ketorolac, and diclofenac, were found to be substrates for oxidation by
[...] Read more.
The oxidation of eight pharmaceutical micropollutants by chloroperoxidase derived from Caldaromyces fumago using hydrogen peroxide as an electron acceptor is reported. All the tested compounds, namely trazadone, sulfamethoxazole, naproxen, tetracycline, estradiol, ketoconazole, ketorolac, and diclofenac, were found to be substrates for oxidation by chloroperoxidase. The respective oxidation products were identified by electrospray ionization–mass spectrometry. All the products contain at least one chloride atom in their structure after the enzymatic oxidation. Degradability experiments indicated that most of the reaction products are more biodegradable than the corresponding unmodified compounds. The enzyme was found to be catalytically active in effluent from a water treatment facility, transforming the micropollutants with high reaction rates and conversions. The enzyme was immobilized in chitosan macrospheres, which allowed the catalyst to be recycled for up to three treatment cycles in simulated samples of treated residual water. The conversion was high in the first two cycles; however, in the third, a 50% reduction in the capacity of the enzyme to oxidize ketorolac was observed. Additionally, immobilization improved the performance of the enzyme over a wider pH range, achieving the conversion of ketorolac at pH 5, while the free enzyme was not active at this pH. Overall, the results of this study suggest that chloroperoxidase represents a powerful potential catalyst in terms of its catalytic activity for the transformation of pharmaceutical micropollutants. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Highly Efficient and Visible Light Responsive Heterojunction Composites as Dual Photoelectrodes for Photocatalytic Fuel Cell
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 30; doi:10.3390/catal8010030 -
Abstract
In the present work, a novel photocatalytic fuel cell (PFC) system involving a dual heterojunction photoelectrodes, viz. polyaniline/TiO2 nanotubes (PANI/TiO2 NTs) photoanode and CuO/Co3O4 nanorods (CuO/Co3O4 NRs) photocathode, has been designed. Compared to TiO2
[...] Read more.
In the present work, a novel photocatalytic fuel cell (PFC) system involving a dual heterojunction photoelectrodes, viz. polyaniline/TiO2 nanotubes (PANI/TiO2 NTs) photoanode and CuO/Co3O4 nanorods (CuO/Co3O4 NRs) photocathode, has been designed. Compared to TiO2 NTs electrode of PFC, the present heterojunction design not only enhances the visible light absorption but also offers the higher efficiency in degrading Rhodamine B–a model organic pollutant. The study includes an evaluation of the dual performance of the photoelectrodes as well. Under visible-light irradiation of 3 mW cm−2, the cell composed of the photoanode PANI/TiO2 NTs and CuO/Co3O4 NRs photocathode forms an interior bias of +0.24 V within the PFC system. This interior bias facilitated the transfer of electrons from the photoanode to photocathode across the external circuit and combined with the holes generated therein along with a simultaneous power production. In this manner, the separation of electron/hole pair was achieved in the photoelectrodes by releasing the holes and electrons of PANI/TiO2 NTs photoanode and CuO/Co3O4 NRs photocathode, respectively. Using this PFC system, the degradation of Rhodamine B in aqueous media was achieved to an extent of 68.5% within a reaction duration of a four-hour period besides a simultaneous power generation of 85 μA cm−2. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Construction of an Ultrasensitive and Highly Selective Nitrite Sensor Using Piroxicam-Derived Copper Oxide Nanostructures
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 29; doi:10.3390/catal8010029 -
Abstract
In this work, piroxicam-based copper oxide nanostructures (Px-CuO NSs) were synthesized via hydrothermal precipitation in the presence of ammonia. The prepared Px-CuO NSs were subjected to scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) to obtain morphology and crystallinity, respectively. The SEM study
[...] Read more.
In this work, piroxicam-based copper oxide nanostructures (Px-CuO NSs) were synthesized via hydrothermal precipitation in the presence of ammonia. The prepared Px-CuO NSs were subjected to scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) to obtain morphology and crystallinity, respectively. The SEM study reveals that these Px-CuO NSs are in the form of porous rose-like nanopetals with dotted particles on their surface, while the XRD study confirms their crystalline nature. The Px-CuO NS-based sensors were fabricated by drop-casting them onto the surface of a glassy carbon electrode (GCE) and they were tested for nitrite detection using voltammetry and amperometry. The results show these Px-CuO NSs to be highly stable on the GCE surface with linear amperometric (current vs. time) responses to wide range of nitrite concentrations from 100 to 1800 nM, with limits of detection (LOD) and quantification (LOQ) being 12 nM and 40 nM, respectively. Importantly, the fabricated sensor showed negligible effects for a 10-fold higher concentration of common interfering agents and exhibited excellent selectivity. It was applied successfully for nitrite detection in water samples such as river water, mineral water, and tap water. Full article
Figures

Open AccessCommunication
Catalytic Isomerization of Dihydroxyacetone to Lactic Acid and Alkyl Lactates over Hierarchical Zeolites Containing Tin
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 31; doi:10.3390/catal8010031 -
Abstract
Hierarchical zeolites containing tin were obtained, characterized and used in a reaction of catalytic isomerization of dihydroxyacetone (DHA) to lactic acid and alkyl lactates. These catalysts are characterized by preserved crystallinity and primary microporosity with the simultaneous existence of secondary porosity regarding mesopores,
[...] Read more.
Hierarchical zeolites containing tin were obtained, characterized and used in a reaction of catalytic isomerization of dihydroxyacetone (DHA) to lactic acid and alkyl lactates. These catalysts are characterized by preserved crystallinity and primary microporosity with the simultaneous existence of secondary porosity regarding mesopores, which facilitates access of large molecules of reagents to active centers. Creation of additional porosity was confirmed by X-ray diffraction and low-temperature nitrogen adsorption/desorption studies. The reaction of dihydroxyacetone isomerization was conducted in different reaction media such as methanol, ethanol or water with the use of two heating methods: microwave radiation and conventional heating. The application of microwave radiation enabled to reduce the reaction time to 1 h and achieve dihydroxyacetone conversion of >90% and high yields of the desired reaction products. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Microbial Kinetic Resolution of Aroma Compounds Using Solid-State Fermentation
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 28; doi:10.3390/catal8010028 -
Abstract
A novel microbial approach to the production of enantiomerically enriched and pure aroma compounds based on kinetic resolution via solid-state fermentation is proposed. Twenty-five filamentous fungi were screened for lipase activity and enantioselective hydrolysis of a volatile racemic ester (1-phenylethyl acetate (1
[...] Read more.
A novel microbial approach to the production of enantiomerically enriched and pure aroma compounds based on kinetic resolution via solid-state fermentation is proposed. Twenty-five filamentous fungi were screened for lipase activity and enantioselective hydrolysis of a volatile racemic ester (1-phenylethyl acetate (1)) and several racemic lactones (trans and cis whisky lactones (4, 5), γ-decalactone (7), δ-decalactone (8), (cis-3a,4,7,7a-tetrahydro-1(3H)-isobenzofuranone) (9)). Solid-state fermentation was conducted with linseed and rapeseed cakes. Kinetic resolution afforded enantiomerically enriched products with high enantiomeric excesses (ee = 82–99%). The results highlight the potential economic value of solid-state fermentation using agroindustrial side-stream feedstocks as an alternative to more expensive processes conducted in submerged fermentation. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Hydrogen-Etched TiO2−x as Efficient Support of Gold Catalysts for Water–Gas Shift Reaction
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 26; doi:10.3390/catal8010026 -
Abstract
Hydrogen-etching technology was used to prepare TiO2−x nanoribbons with abundant stable surface oxygen vacancies. Compared with traditional Au-TiO2, gold supported on hydrogen-etched TiO2−x nanoribbons had been proven to be efficient and stable water–gas shift (WGS) catalysts. The
[...] Read more.
Hydrogen-etching technology was used to prepare TiO2−x nanoribbons with abundant stable surface oxygen vacancies. Compared with traditional Au-TiO2, gold supported on hydrogen-etched TiO2−x nanoribbons had been proven to be efficient and stable water–gas shift (WGS) catalysts. The disorder layer and abundant stable surface oxygen vacancies of hydrogen-etched TiO2−x nanoribbons lead to higher microstrain and more metallic Au0 species, respectively, which all facilitate the improvement of WGS catalytic activities. Furthermore, we successfully correlated the WGS thermocatalytic activities with their optoelectronic properties, and then tried to understand WGS pathways from the view of electron flow process. Hereinto, the narrowed forbidden band gap leads to the decreased Ohmic barrier, which enhances the transmission efficiency of “hot-electron flow”. Meanwhile, the abundant surface oxygen vacancies are considered as electron traps, thus promoting the flow of “hot-electron” and reduction reaction of H2O. As a result, the WGS catalytic activity was enhanced. The concept involved hydrogen-etching technology leading to abundant surface oxygen vacancies can be attempted on other supported catalysts for WGS reaction or other thermocatalytic reactions. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Inhibiting Fe–Al Spinel Formation on a Narrowed Mesopore-Sized MgAl2O4 Support as a Novel Catalyst for H2 Production in Chemical Looping Technology
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 27; doi:10.3390/catal8010027 -
Abstract
In this paper, the structure of Al2O3 is modified with magnesium to synthesize MgAl2O4 as an oxygen carrier (OC) support. The surface properties and structural stability of the modified support are improved by the incorporation of magnesium
[...] Read more.
In this paper, the structure of Al2O3 is modified with magnesium to synthesize MgAl2O4 as an oxygen carrier (OC) support. The surface properties and structural stability of the modified support are improved by the incorporation of magnesium in the structure of the support and additionally by narrowing the pore size distribution (about 2.3 nm). Then, iron oxide is impregnated on both an Al2O3 support and a MgAl2O4 support as the oxygen transfer active site. The XRD results showed the formation of solely Fe2O3 on the MgAl2O4 support, while both Fe2O3 and Fe3O4 are detected in the synthesized Fe2O3-Al2O3 structure. The synthesized samples are investigated in chemical looping cycles, including CO reduction (as one of the most important side reactions of chemical looping reforming), at different temperatures (300–500 °C) and oxidation with steam at 700 °C for hydrogen production. The obtained results showed the inhibition of Fe–Al spinel formation in the structure of the Fe2O3-MgAl2O4 OC. In addition, H2 with a purity higher than 98% is achievable in oxidation of the OC with steam. In addition, the activity and crystalline change of the Fe2O3-MgAl2O4 OC is investigated after 20 reduction-oxidation cycles. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
TiO2 Nanotubes on Transparent Substrates: Control of Film Microstructure and Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting Performance
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 25; doi:10.3390/catal8010025 -
Abstract
Transfer of semiconductor thin films on transparent and or flexible substrates is a highly desirable process to enable photonic, catalytic, and sensing technologies. A promising approach to fabricate nanostructured TiO2 films on transparent substrates is self-ordering by anodizing of thin metal films
[...] Read more.
Transfer of semiconductor thin films on transparent and or flexible substrates is a highly desirable process to enable photonic, catalytic, and sensing technologies. A promising approach to fabricate nanostructured TiO2 films on transparent substrates is self-ordering by anodizing of thin metal films on fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO). Here, we report pulsed direct current (DC) magnetron sputtering for the deposition of titanium thin films on conductive glass substrates at temperatures ranging from room temperature to 450 °C. We describe in detail the influence that deposition temperature has on mechanical, adhesion and microstructural properties of titanium film, as well as on the corresponding TiO2 nanotube array obtained after anodization and annealing. Finally, we measure the photoelectrochemical water splitting activity of different TiO2 nanotube samples showing that the film deposited at 150 °C has much higher activity correlating well with the lower crystallite size and the higher degree of self-organization observed in comparison with the nanotubes obtained at different temperatures. Importantly, the film showing higher water splitting activity does not have the best adhesion on glass substrate, highlighting an important trade-off for future optimization. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Pd-Catalyzed Mizoroki-Heck Reactions Using Fluorine-Containing Agents as the Cross-Coupling Partners
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 23; doi:10.3390/catal8010023 -
Abstract
The Mizoroki-Heck reaction represents one of the most convenient methods for carbon-carbon double bond formation in the synthesis of small organic molecules, natural products, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and functional materials. Fluorine-containing organic compounds have found wide applications in the research areas of materials and
[...] Read more.
The Mizoroki-Heck reaction represents one of the most convenient methods for carbon-carbon double bond formation in the synthesis of small organic molecules, natural products, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and functional materials. Fluorine-containing organic compounds have found wide applications in the research areas of materials and life sciences over the past several decades. The incorporation of fluorine-containing segments into the target molecules by the Mizoroki-Heck reactions is highly attractive, as these reactions efficiently construct carbon-carbon double bonds bearing fluorinated functional groups by simple procedures. This review summarizes the palladium-catalyzed Mizoroki-Heck reactions using various fluorine-containing reagents as the cross-coupling partners. The first part of the review describes the Pd-catalyzed Mizoroki-Heck reactions of aryl halides or pseudo-halides with the fluorinated alkenes, and the second part discusses the Pd-catalyzed Mizoroki-Heck reactions of the fluorinated halides or pseudo-halides with alkenes. Variants of the Pd-catalyzed Mizoroki-Heck reactions with fluorine-containing reagents are also briefly depicted. This work supplies an overview, as well as a guide, to both younger and more established researchers in order to attract more attention and contributions in the realm of Mizoroki-Heck reactions with fluorine-containing participants. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Over-Expression of the Thermobifida fusca β-Glucosidase in a Yarrowia lipolytica Transformant to Degrade Soybean Isoflavones
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 24; doi:10.3390/catal8010024 -
Abstract
A gene (bgl) encoding a β-glucosidase in thermophilic actinomycete Thermobifida fusca NTU 22 was cloned into a Yarrowia lipolytica expression system. Heterologous expression resulted in extracellular β-glucosidase production with activity as high as 630 U/mL in a Hinton flask culture filtrate.
[...] Read more.
A gene (bgl) encoding a β-glucosidase in thermophilic actinomycete Thermobifida fusca NTU 22 was cloned into a Yarrowia lipolytica expression system. Heterologous expression resulted in extracellular β-glucosidase production with activity as high as 630 U/mL in a Hinton flask culture filtrate. This recombinant β-glucosidase was purified 9.2-fold from crude culture filtrate by DEAE-Sepharose FF column chromatography as measured by its increase in specific activity. The overall yield of the purified enzyme was 47.5%. The molecular weight of the purified β-glucosidase estimated by SDS-PAGE was 45 kDa, which agreed with the predicted molecular weight based on the nucleotide sequence. About 15% enzyme activity loss was observed after the enzyme was heat-treated at 50 °C for 180 min. It was also found that the activity of the enzyme was inhibited by Hg2+, Cu2+, Ba2+, Ag+, p-chloromercuribenzene, and iodoacetate. The β-glucosidase from T. fusca had the most activity for daidzein-7-glucoside and genistein-7-glucoside among the tested flavonoid glycosides, but there was moderate or little activity for luteolin-7-glucoside, cyanidine-3-glucoside, and quercetin-3-glucoside. These properties are important for the soybean isoflavone applications of this β-glucosidase. Full article
Figures

Figure 1