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Now online in JACS Au!

We have just published a research paper in JACS Au involving the catalytic transformation of lignocellulose! It allows the synthesis of methoxyterephthalic acid directly from sawdust! Congratulations to all authors.

Abstract: Poly(ethylene terephthalate) polyester represents the most common class of thermoplastic polymers widely used in the textile, bottling, and packaging industries. Terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol, both of petrochemical origin, are polymerized to yield the polyester. However, an earlier report suggests that polymerization of methoxyterephthalic acid with ethylene glycol provides a methoxy-polyester with similar properties. Currently, there are no established biobased synthetic routes toward the methoxyterephthalic acid monomer. Here, we show a viable route to the dicarboxylic acid from various tree species involving three catalytic steps. We demonstrate that sawdust can be converted to valuable aryl nitrile intermediates through hydrogenolysis, followed by an efficient fluorosulfation–catalytic cyanation sequence (>90%) and then converted to methoxyterephthalic acid by hydrolysis and oxidation. A preliminary polymerization result indicates a methoxy-polyester with acceptable thermal properties.