Special Issue "Reactions in Water"


A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
em. Prof. Dr. Jan B.F.N. Engberts

Stratingh Institute, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands
Interests: chemistry in water; hydrophobic interactions; catalysis in water; chemistry of amphiphiles; gene delivery by vesicles

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Whereas the single water molecular has no perculiar properties apart from being very small, it is the aqueous liquid, with its highly dynamic three-dimensional hydrogen-bond network, that has many unique properties. All living systems are critically dependent on the presence of water, both as a medium and as a reagent. In physical-organc chemistry it is often the medium of choice, in part because of its high dielectric constant that avoids ion pair formation and the associated kinetic complexities. Although being the ultimate green solvent, in synthetic chemistry water has for a long time not been popular for two main reasons: (1) the limited solubility of  many apolar substrates and (2) the instability of  a variety of functional groups in aqueous media.

In the past three decades there have been many new developments. Kinetic studies, performed at low substrate concentrations, showed that hydrophobic effects had highly interesting effects both on the reactivity of apolar substrates in water as well as on the stereochemistry of these reactions. Particularly pericyclic reactions have been examined in considerable detail. A second breakthrough came from the group of Sharpless. In contrast with traditional beliefs, it was found that the limited solubilities of organic substrates can be turned into an advantage. A number of transformations, conducted in heterogeneous aqueous suspensions, showed high yields, often improved reaction rates and favorable stereochemistry. Such “on-water reactions” opened many novel possibilities for powerful synthetic protocols in water and for mechanistic investigations.

“Reactions in Water” remains a highly challenging topic for further investigation of the secrets that the aqueous medium has to offer to present day scientists in the area. I kindly invite my colleagues to submit their novel results to the Special Issue of Molecules. We are eagerly awaiting your contributions!

Dr. Jan B.F.N. Engberts
Guest Editor


  • organic, inorganic and  organometallic reactions in water
  • mechanism of reactions in water
  • hydrophobic effects on organic reactivity
  • water, the ultimate green solvent for chemical transformations
  • (bio)catalytic processes in water
  • (stereo)selective reactions in water
  • reactions in highly aqueous mixed solvents
  • “On-water reactions”, mechanism and synthetic applications
  • molecular recognition chemistry in water
  • systems chemistry in water
  • aqueous reactivity of apolar substrates undergoing self-coiling
  • catalysis by surfactant aggregates and cyclodextrines in water
  • microwave-assisted aqueous reactions
  • reactions in supercritical water

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Displaying article 1-3
p. 2073-2081
by ,  and
Molecules 2012, 17(2), 2073-2081; doi:10.3390/molecules17022073
Received: 26 January 2012 / Revised: 10 February 2012 / Accepted: 14 February 2012 / Published: 20 February 2012
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (258 KB)
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reactions in Water)
p. 9467-9479
by , ,  and
Molecules 2011, 16(11), 9467-9479; doi:10.3390/molecules16119467
Received: 13 October 2011 / Revised: 31 October 2011 / Accepted: 8 November 2011 / Published: 11 November 2011
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (232 KB)
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reactions in Water)
p. 9067-9076
by , , ,  and
Molecules 2011, 16(11), 9067-9076; doi:10.3390/molecules16119067
Received: 19 September 2011 / Revised: 22 October 2011 / Accepted: 26 October 2011 / Published: 27 October 2011
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (595 KB)
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reactions in Water)
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Last update: 4 March 2014

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