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Godino-Ojer, M, Matos I, Bernardo M, Carvalho R, G.P. Soares OS, Durán-Valle C, Fonseca IM, Mayoral PE.  2020.  Acidic porous carbons involved in the green and selective synthesis of benzodiazepines. Catalysis Today. 357:64-73. AbstractWebsite

Eco-sustainable and recyclable porous carbons are reported as metal-free catalysts for the synthesis of benzodiazepines for the first time. The porous carbons were able to efficiently catalyse the synthesis of benzodiazepine 1 from o-phenylendiamine 2 and acetone 3 under mild conditions. Both acidic functions and the porosity of the catalysts were determinant features. High conversion values were obtained when using HNO3 oxidized carbons. The highest selectivity to benzodiazepine 1 was obtained in the presence of the most microporous catalyst N-N, which is indicative of the great influence of porous properties. Stronger acid sites and high microporosity of the carbon treated with H2SO4 yield benzodiazepine 1 with total selectivity.

Godino-Ojer, M, Blazquez-García R, Matos I, Bernardo M, Fonseca IM, Mayoral PE.  2019.  Porous carbons-derived from vegetal biomass in the synthesis of quinoxalines. Mechanistic insights. Catalysis Today. AbstractWebsite

We report herein for the first-time acid biomass-derived carbons from vegetal biomass, with high developed porosity, prepared through integrating method comprising pyrolysis and surface phosphonation, able to efficiently catalyze the synthesis of quinoxalines from 1,2-diamines and α-hydroxi ketones, under aerobic conditions. The obtained results indicate that the reaction is mainly driven by a combination of acid function strength and textural properties in terms of conversion and selectivity. Furthermore, our experimental and theoretical observations suggest that the preferred reaction pathway for this transformation, in the presence of the investigated acid carbon catalysts, involves cascade reactions including imination reaction between reactants, successive imine-enamine and keto-enol tautomerisms, heterocyclization followed by dehydration, and aromatization. While the acid sites seem to be a relevant role in each reaction step, the system formed by activated carbon and molecular oxygen could be behind the last oxidative reaction to give the corresponding nitrogen heterocycles.

Godino-Ojer, M, Milla-Diez L, Matos I, Durán-Valle CJ, Bernardo M, Fonseca IM, Pérez Mayoral E.  2018.  Enhanced Catalytic Properties of Carbon supported Zirconia and Sulfated Zirconia for the Green Synthesis of Benzodiazepines. ChemCatChem. 10:5215-5223., Number 22 AbstractWebsite

Abstract This work reports for the first time a new series of promising porous catalytic carbon materials, functionalized with Lewis and Brønsted acid sites useful in the green synthesis of 2,3-dihydro-1H-1,5-benzodiazepine – nitrogen heterocyclic compounds. Benzodiazepines and derivatives are fine chemicals exhibiting interesting therapeutic properties. Carbon materials have been barely investigated in the synthesis of this type of compounds. Two commercial carbon materials were selected exhibiting different textural properties: i) Norit RX3 (N) as microporous sample and ii) mesoporous xerogel (X), both used as supports of ZrO2 (Zr) and ZrO2/SO42− (SZr). The supported SZr led to higher conversion values and selectivities to the target benzodiazepine. Both chemical and textural properties influenced significantly the catalytic performance. Particularly relevant are the results concerning the non-sulfated samples, NZr and XZr, that were able to catalyze the reaction leading to the target benzodiazepine with high selectivity (up to 80 %; 2 h). These results indicated an important role of the carbon own surface functional groups, avoiding the use of H2SO4. Even very low amounts of SZr supported on carbon reveal high activity and selectivity. Therefore, the carbon materials herein reported can be considered an efficient and sustainable alternative bifunctional catalysts for the benzodiazepine synthesis.

Godino-Ojer, M, Blazquez-García R, Matos I, Bernardo M, Fonseca IM, Pérez Mayoral E.  2020.  Porous carbons-derived from vegetal biomass in the synthesis of quinoxalines. Mechanistic insights. Catalysis Today. 354:90-99. AbstractWebsite

We report herein for the first-time acid biomass-derived carbons from vegetal biomass, with high developed porosity, prepared through integrating method comprising pyrolysis and surface phosphonation, able to efficiently catalyze the synthesis of quinoxalines from 1,2-diamines and α-hydroxi ketones, under aerobic conditions. The obtained results indicate that the reaction is mainly driven by a combination of acid function strength and textural properties in terms of conversion and selectivity. Furthermore, our experimental and theoretical observations suggest that the preferred reaction pathway for this transformation, in the presence of the investigated acid carbon catalysts, involves cascade reactions including imination reaction between reactants, successive imine-enamine and keto-enol tautomerisms, heterocyclization followed by dehydration, and aromatization. While the acid sites seem to be a relevant role in each reaction step, the system formed by activated carbon and molecular oxygen could be behind the last oxidative reaction to give the corresponding nitrogen heterocycles.

Godinho, D, Nogueira M, Bernardo M, Dias D, Lapa N, Fonseca I, Pinto F.  2019.  Recovery of Cr(III) by using chars from the co-gasification of agriculture and forestry wastes, Aug. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 26:22723–22735., Number 22 AbstractWebsite

The aim of the present work was to assess the efficiency of biochars obtained from the co-gasification of blends of rice huskþinspace}+þinspace}corn cob (biochar 50CC) and rice huskþinspace}+þinspace}eucalyptus stumps (biochar 50ES), as potential renewable low-cost adsorbents for Cr(III) recovery from wastewaters. The two gasification biochars presented a weak porous structure (ABETþinspace}=þinspace}63–144 m2 g−1), but a strong alkaline character, promoted by a high content of mineral matter (59.8{%} w/w of ashes for 50CC biochar and 81.9{%} w/w for 50ES biochar). The biochars were used for Cr(III) recovery from synthetic solutions by varying the initial pH value (3, 4, and 5), liquid/solid (L/S) ratio (100–500 mL g−1), contact time (1–120 h), and initial Cr(III) concentration (10–150 mg L−1). High Cr(III) removal percentages (around 100{%}) were obtained for both biochars, due to Cr precipitation, at low L/S ratios (100 and 200 mL g−1), for the initial pH 5 and initial Cr concentration of 50 mg L−1. Under the experimental conditions in which other removal mechanisms rather than precipitation occurred, a higher removal percentage (49.9{%}) and the highest uptake capacity (6.87 mg g−1) were registered for 50CC biochar. In the equilibrium, 50ES biochar presented a Cr(III) removal percentage of 27{%} with a maximum uptake capacity of 2.58 mg g−1. The better performance on Cr(III) recovery for the biochar 50CC was attributed to its better textural properties, as well as its higher cation exchange capacity.

Godinho, D, Dias D, Bernardo M, Lapa N, Fonseca I, Lopes H, Pinto F.  2017.  Adding value to gasification and co-pyrolysis chars as removal agents of Cr3+. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 321:173-182. AbstractWebsite

The present work aims to assess the efficiency of chars, obtained from the gasification and co-pyrolysis of rice wastes, as adsorbents of Cr3+ from aqueous solution. GC and PC chars, produced in the gasification and co-pyrolysis, respectively, of rice husk and polyethylene were studied. Cr3+ removal assays were optimised for the initial pH value, adsorbent mass, contact time and Cr3+ initial concentration. GC showed a better performance than PC with about 100% Cr3+ removal, due to the pH increase that caused Cr precipitation. Under pH conditions in which the adsorption prevailed (pH<5.5), GC presented the highest uptake capacity (21.1mg Cr3+ g−1 char) for the following initial conditions: 50mg Cr3+ L−1; pH 5; contact time: 24h;L/S ratio: 1000mLg−1. The pseudo-second order kinetic model showed the best adjustment to GC experimental data. Both the first and second order kinetic models fitted well to PC experimental data. The ion exchange was the dominant phenomenon on the Cr3+ adsorption by GC sample. Also, this char significantly reduced the ecotoxicity of Cr3+ solutions for the bacterium Vibrio fischeri. GC char proved to be an efficient material to remove Cr3+ from aqueous solution, without the need for further activation.