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Vitamin boost for green solvents

Posted on 28 May 2020

Naturally-occurring analogues of Vitamin C have been used to form deep eutectic solvents for the first time. These environmentally-friendly solvents may have applications as natural antifreezes or antibacterial agents.

Deep eutectic solvents (DESs) are formed when two solid materials mix to give a liquid phase. If the two solids are environmentally-friendly, then the resulting solvents are one of the most promising green technologies to emerge in recent years.

In the pursuit of new sustainable DESs, Dr Avtar Matharu and his research team report the preparation of DESs based on natural lactone analogues of L-ascorbic acid, Vitamin C. The researchers combined these natural lactones with choline chloride, a well-established component in sustainable DESs.

This work, produced in the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, expands the current array of DESs that can be produced using naturally occurring components. Given their potential to be bio-derived, interesting physicochemical properties (e.g. propensity to supercool and vitrify) and apparent antibacterial nature, the researchers proposed that these new DESs may be useful across a range of applications.

Dr Matharu said, “This is an excellent piece of research conducted by Andrew Maneffa during his PhD. Andrew was able to make the connection between vitamin C and its analogues to develop these new deep eutectic solvents.”

PhD student, Andrew Maneffa said, “This work is an illustration of how we can take the building blocks provided to us by nature and re-tool them in a way that offers potential uses in some intriguing applications.”

The research is published in Chemistry Open.