About this Research Topic
Nowadays, environmental pollution/deterioration and the greenhouse effect are becoming increasingly drastic, primarily due to the dependence on and overuse of fossil sources. As a result, the development of green and sustainable approaches has become a particularly important theme in recent years. Organic synthesis is a versatile tool in the design and creation of desirable scaffolding molecules; however, these processes typically involve toxic and nonrenewable starting materials as well as the formation of waste or byproducts. Biomass, on the other hand, is considered the most abundant organic carbon resource for producing liquid fuels and value-added chemicals through an array of cascading bio-/chemocatalytic reactions. Thanks to the oxygen-rich feature of biomass, the yielded products are typically functionalized with oxygen-containing species such as hydroxy, ether, carbonyl, carboxyl, and ester groups, which on the other hand significantly enrich product variety.
In addition to oxygen species, catalytic functionalization of biomass derivatives with nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, and silicon atoms can also be achieved via specific reaction routes or pathways. These functionalized compounds are crucial core scaffolds or key intermediates in a wide range of pharmaceutical molecules, fiber dyes, and printing ink, which can also be directly used as solvents, surfactants, and so on. However, due to the inherent structural complexity of biomass materials with high oxygen content and rich active species, multistep degradation or conversion routes are typically involved to gain specific products. Among the developed catalytic strategies, carbon-functional group coupling is a key approach to synthesizing organic compounds with satisfactory functional groups and biological activities. To maintain this value chain, special emphasis is laid upon designing appropriate catalytic materials/molecules with controllable functionalities or the establishment of fitting catalytic processes.
The purpose of this Research Topic is therefore to highlight current progress in the development and optimization of bio-/chemocatalytic strategies and systems for the selective upgrading of biomass and its derivatives to value-added functionalized products and functional materials. We welcome original research, review, and perspective articles that focus on (but are not limited to) the following themes:
• Catalytic routes and mechanisms for the conversion of biomass to oxygen-containing platform molecules (e.g., biodiesel, organic acids, esters, furanic compounds, alcohols, phenols, and ethers)
• Green chemistry in organic synthesis of value-added functionalized compounds (e.g., amines, amides, lactams, and O/N/S/P-heterocycles)
• Development of synthetic methods and technologies for bio-based C-X (X = O, S, B, N, P, Si, C) coupling reactions
• Bio-, photo-, and electrocatalysis for biomass upgrading
• Pretreatment and waste disposal approaches for processing biomass
Keywords: Sustainable chemistry, Biomass conversion, Catalytic mechanism, Biorefinery, Biofuels
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