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Special Issue "Green Chemistry in Portugal"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Green Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Mara G. Freire
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CICECO - Aveiro Institute of Materials, Chemistry Department, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: separation processes; neoteric solvents; ionic liquids; deep eutetcic solvents; biopharmaceuticals; green chemistry
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As all of you know, in the past decades, environmental concerns have been a topic of strong debate across the world, comprising topics on volatile solvents and gases emissions and on the preservation of the environment. It was in the 90’s that a new trend arose on the way we deal with chemicals, and for which we need to find alternatives to minimize the production of gases and residues, and the respective environmental impact. This new direction on the reduction of the chemistry activities impact on the environment is named “green chemistry”, most of the times interlinked with the definitions “environmentally-benign chemistry” or “sustainable chemistry”. The term "green chemistry" was first used in 1991 by Paul T. Anastas, in a special program launched by EPA, the US Environmental Protection Agency. Green Chemistry is defined as being based on the development and implementation of chemicals and processes aiming at reducing or eliminating the use or generation of substances harmful to human health and the environment. Nowadays, Green chemistry is regarded as the association between the development of chemistry and the search in sustainability. The ultimate goal in the field is to promote sustainable development, corresponding to industrial progress taking into account the current human needs without compromising future generations. In 2015, 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) were defined by the UN (“Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”), expressing a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. Several of these goals are directly connected to Green Chemistry, highlighting the need for sustainable chemistry and engineering, where greener reactions and separations processes together with green and sustainable solvents play a pivotal role.

Given the relevance behind the research on the green chemistry field and on improving sustainability, and being this a field in which researchers working in Portuguese institutions have significantly contributed, it is my great pleasure to invite the submission of research or review articles to the Special Issue Green Chemistry in Portugal. This special issue aims to cover research in the field of Green Chemistry being carried out in Portuguese institutions, laboratories or centers, further reinforcing the Portuguese position and recognition in the field.

Prof. Dr. Mara G. Freire
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Green Chemistry
  • Portugal
  • Neoteric Solvents
  • Green Reactions
  • Green Processes

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Supercritical CO2 Extraction as a Tool to Isolate Anti-Inflammatory Sesquiterpene Lactones from Cichorium intybus L. Roots
Molecules 2021, 26(9), 2583; - 28 Apr 2021
Viewed by 597
Cichorium intybus L. or chicory plants are a natural source of health-promoting compounds in the form of supplements such as inulin, as well as other bioactive compounds such as sesquiterpene lactones (SLs). After inulin extraction, chicory roots are considered waste, with most SLs [...] Read more.
Cichorium intybus L. or chicory plants are a natural source of health-promoting compounds in the form of supplements such as inulin, as well as other bioactive compounds such as sesquiterpene lactones (SLs). After inulin extraction, chicory roots are considered waste, with most SLs not being harnessed. We developed and optimized a new strategy for SL extraction that can contribute to the conversion of chicory root waste into valuable products to be used in human health-promoting applications. In our work, rich fractions of SLs were recovered from chicory roots using supercritical CO2. A response surface methodology was used to optimize the process parameters (pressure, temperature, flow rate, and co-solvent percentage) for the extraction performance. The best operating conditions were achieved at 350 bar, 40 °C, and 10% EtOH as a co-solvent in a 15 g/min flow rate for 120 min. The extraction with supercritical CO2 revealed to be more selective for the SLs than the conventional solid–liquid extraction with ethyl acetate. In our work, 1.68% mass and a 0.09% sesquiterpenes yield extraction were obtained, including the recovery of two sesquiterpene lactones (8-deoxylactucin and 11β,13-dihydro-8-deoxylactucin), which, to the best of our knowledge, are not commercially available. A mixture of the abovementioned compounds were tested at different concentrations for their toxic profile and anti-inflammatory potential towards a human calcineurin/NFAT orthologue pathway in a yeast model, the calcineurin/Crz1 pathway. The SFE extract obtained, rich in SLs, yielded results of inhibition of 61.74 ± 6.87% with 50 µg/mL, and the purified fraction containing 8-deoxylactucin and 11β,13-dihydro-8-deoxylactucin inhibited the activation of the reporter gene up to 53.38 ± 3.9% at 10 µg/mL. The potential activity of the purified fraction was also validated by the ability to inhibit Crz1 nuclear translocation and accumulation. These results reveal a possible exploitable green technology to recover potential anti-inflammatory compounds from chicory roots waste after inulin extraction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Chemistry in Portugal)
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