Gilding Glucose

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Science  27 Oct 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5799, pp. 567
DOI: 10.1126/science.314.5799.567a

The relative inertness of gold has been long been valued for the manufacture of jewelry and other prized items that must resist oxidative tarnishing. Recently, however, homogeneous as well as nanometer-scale colloidal gold has proven increasingly useful in chemical catalysis. Comotti et al. explore the potential of gold particles supported on carbon to catalyze the aerobic oxidation of glucose to gluconic acid. Given the relative fragility of this highly functionalized substrate, industrial production of gluconic acid has relied on mild enzymatic methods. A comparison of two aqueous glucose oxidations—one catalyzed by a commercial enzyme preparation and the other by suspended Au/C—shows that under optimized conditions, the gold exhibits comparable activity to the enzymes, requiring only mild heating and vigorous stirring of a basic solution. — JSY

J. Catal. 244, 122 (2006).

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