GREEN CHEMISTRY

Savvy solvent swaps to make artemisinin

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Science  05 Jun 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6239, pp. 1103-1104
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6239.1103-f

Solvents greatly influence the course of chemical reactions. More indirectly, they constrain the accessible temperature and pressure conditions and frequently constitute the bulk of waste left over when reactions are finished. Amara et al. explored the advantages of using environmentally friendly solvents in the photochemical oxidation process used to make the antimalarial drug artemisinin. In particular, they developed one protocol using liquefied carbon dioxide and another using mixtures of water and either ethanol or tetrahydrofuran. The latter protocol operated at room temperature, and the solvents could be recycled after directly delivering crystallized product.

Nat. Chem. 7, 10.1038/NCHEM.2261 (2015).

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