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Alison Fout in Science Magazine: "A bioinspired iron catalyst for nitrate and perchlorate reduction"

Alison Fout professor of chemistry at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and 2015 recipient of the Marion Milligan Mason Award, has published an article in Science Magazine (Vol. 354, Issue 6313) along with Courtney L. Ford,Yun Ji Park, Ellen M. Matson, and Zachary Gordon. See the abstract below for more information.


Nitrate and perchlorate have considerable use in technology, synthetic materials, and agriculture; as a result, they have become pervasive water pollutants. Industrial strategies to chemically reduce these oxyanions often require the use of harsh conditions, but microorganisms can efficiently reduce them enzymatically. We developed an iron catalyst inspired by the active sites of nitrate reductase and (per)chlorate reductase enzymes. The catalyst features a secondary coordination sphere that aids in oxyanion deoxygenation. Upon reduction of the oxyanions, an iron(III)-oxo is formed, which in the presence of protons and electrons regenerates the catalyst and releases water.

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