Joe was part of a collaborative project between University of Bern (Switzerland) and Universitat Jaume I (Spain), which was recently published in ChemCatChem. This work describes the use of mesoionic iridium(III)-NHC complexes as catalysts for efficient dehydrogenation of carbohydrates in water. Without the need for additives, these complexes compare were to previous work published by Dr Jose Mata’s group, using imdazolylidene iridium(III) complexes, along with sulfuric acid.
Introducing abnormal triazolylidene NHC complexes from the Albrecht lab, allowed for this further enhancement of activity for this interesting reaction, which releases hydrogen from carbohydrate substrates, giving only the carbohydrate acid (e.g. gluconic acid) as a by-product, which has potential utility as a initial platform chemical for further synthesis, derived from biomass feedstocks.