Institute for Advanced and Applied Chemical Synthesis

  • Emulsifying Properties of an Homologous Series of Medium- and Long-Chain d-Maltotriose Esters and their Impacts on the Viabilities of Selected Cell Lines

    The development of functional as well as nutritional surfactants for the food industry remains a matter of great interest. In the present study, a series of 6″-O-acylmaltotriose monoesters bearing alkyl side chains of 10–18 carbons was prepared by enzymatic means. The emulsions derived from those monoesters incorporating palmitoyl, stearoyl, and oleoyl side chains generally displayed advantageous shelf-lives, superior resistance to environmental variations, and more favorable droplet size distributions as well as stronger cytotoxic effects against various cancer cell lines. Ester 6 was shown to significantly inhibit the proliferation of MCF-7 breast cancer cells by inducing G1 phase arrest. Specifically, the levels of the G1 phase-related markers cyclin D1 and cyclin E as well as the cycle-dependent kinase 4 were suppressed by this particular ester. This study thus reveals that maltotriose esters can not only serve as novel functional food emulsifiers but also act, in vitro, as notable cytotoxic agents through a well-defined mechanism-of-action.

  • Synthesis of Functionally and Stereochemically Diverse Polymers via Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization of Derivatives of the Biomass-Derived Platform Molecule Levoglucosenone Produced at Industrial Scale

    The commercially available, abundant and homochiral cellulose pyrolysis product levoglucosenone (LGO) together with the readily derived isolevoglucosenone (isoLGO) form, in a stereoselective manner, Diels−Alder adducts with cyclopentadiene (CPD). These ring-fused norbornene systems, each of which incorporates six centers of chirality and is pseudoenantiomeric in nature, undergo ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) in the presence of a range of ruthenium-based catalysts to produce polymers embodying both carbo- and heterocyclic motifs. Under such conditions, controlled polymerizations take place with target molecular weights matching the theoretical ones and with low dispersities (from 1.1 to 1.4) normally being observed. Reduction of the carbonyl group in the Diels−Alder adduct derived from LGO provides the corresponding epimeric alcohols that can be etherified and the resulting ethers, including fluorine-containing ones, also yield well-controlled polymers via ROMP. This thus represents an efficient method for producing stereochemically and functionally diverse polymers from a renewable feedstock available at an industrial scale. These polymerizations are living ones as demonstrated by the facile preparation of block copolymers from the two Diels−Alder adducts.

  • Sucrose fatty acid esters: synthesis, emulsifying capacities, biological activities and structureproperty profiles

    The notable physical and chemical properties of sucrose fatty acid esters have prompted their use in the chemical industry, especially as surfactants, since 1939. Recently, their now well-recognized value as nutraceuticals and as additives in cosmetics has significantly increased demand for ready access to them. As such a lecture of current methods for the preparation of sucrose fatty acid esters by both chemical and enzymatic means is warranted and is presented here together with an account of the historical development of these compounds as surfactants (emulsifiers). The somewhat belated recognition of the antimicrobial, anticancer and insecticidal activities of sucrose esters is also discussed along with a commentary on their structure-property profiles.

  • The Palladium-Catalyzed Ullmann Cross-Coupling Reaction: A Modern Variant on a Time-Honored Process

    Cross-coupling reactions, especially those that are catalyzed by palladium, have revolutionized the way in which carbon−carbon bonds can be formed. The most commonly deployed variants of such processes are the Suzuki−Miyaura, Mizoroki−Heck, Stille, and Negishi cross-coupling reactions, and these normally involve the linking of an organohalide or pseudohalide (such as a triflate or nonaflate) with an organo-metallic or -metalloid such as an organo-boron, -magnesium, -tin, or -zinc species. Since the latter type of coupling partner is often prepared from the corresponding halide, methods that allow for the direct cross-coupling of two distinct halogen-containing compounds would provide valuable and more atom-economical capacities for the formation of carbon−carbon bonds. While the venerable Ullmann reaction can in principle achieve this, it has a number of drawbacks, the most significant of which is that homocoupling of the reaction partners is a competitive, if not the dominant, process. Furthermore, such reactions normally occur only under forcing conditions (viz., often at temperatures in excess of 250 °C). As such, the Ullmann reaction has seen only limited application in this regard, especially as a mid- to latestage feature of complex natural product synthesis. This Account details the development of the palladium-catalyzed Ullmann cross-coupling reaction as a useful method for the assembly of a range of heterocyclic systems relevant to medicinal and/or natural products chemistry. These couplings normally proceed under relatively mild conditions (<100 °C) over short periods of time and, usually, to the exclusion of (unwanted) homocoupling events. The keys to success are the appropriate choice of coupling partners, the form of the copper metal employed, and the choice of reaction solvent. At the present time, the cross-coupling partners capable of engaging in the title reaction are confined to halogenated and otherwise electron-deficient arenes and, as complementary reactants, α- or β-halogenated, α,β-unsaturated aldehydes, ketones, esters, lactones, lactams, and cycloimides. Nitro-substituted (and halogenated) arenes, in particular, serve as effective participants in these reactions, and the products of their coupling with the above-mentioned carbonyl-containing systems can be manipulated in a number of different ways. Depending on the positional relationship between the nitro and carbonyl groups in the cross-coupling product, the reduction of the former group, which can be achieved under a range of different conditions, provides, through intramolecular nucleophilic addition reactions, including Schiff base condensations, access to a diverse range of heterocyclic systems. These include indoles, quinolines, quinolones, isoquinolines, carbazoles, and carbolines. Tandem variants of such cyclization processes, in which Raney cobalt is used as a catalyst for the chemoselective reduction (by dihydrogen) of nitro and nitrile groups (but not olefins), allow for the assembly of a range of structurally challenging natural products, including marinoquinoline A, (±)-1-acetylaspidoalbidine, and (±)-gilbertine.

  • The Synthesis of Certain Phomentrioloxin A Analogues and Their Evaluation as Herbicidal Agents

     A series of 28 analogues of the phytotoxic geranylcyclohexentriol (−)-phomentrioloxin A (1) has been synthesized through cross-couplings of various enantiomerically pure haloconduritols or certain deoxygenated derivatives with either terminal alkynes or borylated alkenes. Some of these analogues display modest herbicidal activities, and physiological profiling studies suggest that analogue 4 inhibits photosystem II in isolated thylakoids in vitro.