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Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
The Physico-Chemical Properties of Glipizide: New Findings
Molecules 2021, 26(11), 3142; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26113142 - 24 May 2021
Abstract
The present work is a concrete example of how physico-chemical studies, if performed in depth, are crucial to understand the behavior of pharmaceutical solids and constitute a solid basis for the control of the reproducibility of the industrial batches. In particular, a deep [...] Read more.
The present work is a concrete example of how physico-chemical studies, if performed in depth, are crucial to understand the behavior of pharmaceutical solids and constitute a solid basis for the control of the reproducibility of the industrial batches. In particular, a deep study of the thermal behavior of glipizide, a hypoglycemic drug, was carried out with the aim of clarifying whether the recognition of its polymorphic forms can really be done on the basis of the endothermic peak that the literature studies attribute to the melting of the compound. A number of analytical techniques were used: thermal techniques (DSC, TGA), X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD), FT-IR spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Great attention was paid to the experimental design and to the interpretation of the combined results obtained by all these techniques. We proved that the attribution of the endothermic peak shown by glipizide to its melting was actually wrong. The DSC peak is no doubt triggered by a decomposition process that involves gas evolution (cyclohexanamine and carbon dioxide) and formation of 5-methyl-N-[2-(4-sulphamoylphenyl) ethyl] pyrazine-2-carboxamide, which remains as decomposition residue. Thermal treatments properly designed and the combined use of DSC with FT-IR and XRPD led to identifying a new polymorphic form of 5-methyl-N-[2-(4-sulphamoylphenyl) ethyl] pyrazine-2-carboxamide, which is obtained by crystallization from the melt. Hence, our results put into evidence that the check of the polymorphic form of glipizide cannot be based on the temperature values of the DSC peak, since such a peak is due to a decomposition process whose Tonset value is strongly affected by the particle size. Kinetic studies of the decomposition process show the high stability of solid glipizide at room temperature. Full article
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Article
A Combined Experimental and Computational Study of Halogen and Hydrogen Bonding in Molecular Salts of 5-Bromocytosine
Molecules 2021, 26(11), 3111; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26113111 - 23 May 2021
Abstract
Although natural or artificial modified pyrimidine nucleobases represent important molecules with valuable properties as constituents of DNA and RNA, no systematic analyses of the structural aspects of bromo derivatives of cytosine have appeared so far in the literature. In view of the biochemical [...] Read more.
Although natural or artificial modified pyrimidine nucleobases represent important molecules with valuable properties as constituents of DNA and RNA, no systematic analyses of the structural aspects of bromo derivatives of cytosine have appeared so far in the literature. In view of the biochemical and pharmaceutical relevance of these compounds, six different crystals containing proton-transfer derivatives of 5-bromocytosine are prepared and analyzed in the solid-state by single crystal X-ray diffraction. All six compounds are organic salts, with proton transfer occurring to the Nimino atom of the pyridine ring. Experimental results are then complemented with Hirshfeld surface analysis to quantitively evaluate the contribution of different intermolecular interactions in the crystal packing. Furthermore, theoretical calculations, based on different arrangements of molecules extracted from the crystal structure determinations, are carried out to analyze the formation mechanism of halogen bonds (XBs) in these compounds and provide insights into the nature and strength of the observed interactions. The results show that the supramolecular architectures of the six molecular salts involve extensive classical intermolecular hydrogen bonds. However, in all but one proton-transfer adducts, weak to moderate XBs are revealed by C–BrO short contacts between the bromine atom in the fifth position, which acts as XB donor (electron acceptor). Moreover, the lone pair electrons of the oxygen atom of adjacent pyrimidine nucleobases and/or counterions or water molecules, which acts as XB acceptor (electron donor). Full article
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Article
Selenoxide Elimination Triggers Enamine Hydrolysis to Primary and Secondary Amines: A Combined Experimental and Theoretical Investigation
Molecules 2021, 26(9), 2770; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26092770 - 08 May 2021
Abstract
We discuss a novel selenium-based reaction mechanism consisting in a selenoxide elimination-triggered enamine hydrolysis. This one-pot model reaction was studied for a set of substrates. Under oxidative conditions, we observed and characterized the formation of primary and secondary amines as elimination products of [...] Read more.
We discuss a novel selenium-based reaction mechanism consisting in a selenoxide elimination-triggered enamine hydrolysis. This one-pot model reaction was studied for a set of substrates. Under oxidative conditions, we observed and characterized the formation of primary and secondary amines as elimination products of such compounds, paving the way for a novel strategy to selectively release bioactive molecules. The underlying mechanism was investigated using NMR, mass spectrometry and density functional theory (DFT). Full article
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Article
Predicting Accurate Lead Structures for Screening Molecular Libraries: A Quantum Crystallographic Approach
Molecules 2021, 26(9), 2605; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26092605 - 29 Apr 2021
Abstract
Optimization of lead structures is crucial for drug discovery. However, the accuracy of such a prediction using the traditional molecular docking approach remains a major concern. Our study demonstrates that the employment of quantum crystallographic approach-counterpoise corrected kernel energy method (KEM-CP) can improve [...] Read more.
Optimization of lead structures is crucial for drug discovery. However, the accuracy of such a prediction using the traditional molecular docking approach remains a major concern. Our study demonstrates that the employment of quantum crystallographic approach-counterpoise corrected kernel energy method (KEM-CP) can improve the accuracy by and large. We select human aldose reductase at 0.66 Å, cyclin dependent kinase 2 at 2.0 Å and estrogen receptor β at 2.7 Å resolutions with active site environment ranging from highly hydrophilic to moderate to highly hydrophobic and several of their known ligands. Overall, the use of KEM-CP alongside the GoldScore resulted superior prediction than the GoldScore alone. Unlike GoldScore, the KEM-CP approach is neither environment-specific nor structural resolution dependent, which highlights its versatility. Further, the ranking of the ligands based on the KEM-CP results correlated well with that of the experimental IC50 values. This computationally inexpensive yet simple approach is expected to ease the process of virtual screening of potent ligands, and it would advance the drug discovery research. Full article
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Article
Synthesis of New Triazolopyrazine Antimalarial Compounds
Molecules 2021, 26(9), 2421; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26092421 - 21 Apr 2021
Abstract
A radical approach to late-stage functionalization using photoredox and Diversinate chemistry on the Open Source Malaria (OSM) triazolopyrazine scaffold (Series 4) resulted in the synthesis of 12 new analogues, which were characterized by NMR, UV, and MS data analysis. The structures of [...] Read more.
A radical approach to late-stage functionalization using photoredox and Diversinate chemistry on the Open Source Malaria (OSM) triazolopyrazine scaffold (Series 4) resulted in the synthesis of 12 new analogues, which were characterized by NMR, UV, and MS data analysis. The structures of four triazolopyrazines were confirmed by X-ray crystal structure analysis. Several minor and unexpected side products were generated during these studies, including two resulting from a possible disproportionation reaction. All compounds were tested for their ability to inhibit the growth of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum (3D7 and Dd2 strains) and for cytotoxicity against a human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cell line. Moderate antimalarial activity was observed for some of the compounds, with IC50 values ranging from 0.3 to >20 µM; none of the compounds displayed any toxicity against HEK293 at 80 µM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Synthesis in Drug Discovery)
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Article
New Bioconjugated Technetium and Rhenium Folates Synthesized by Transmetallation Reaction with Zinc Derivatives
Molecules 2021, 26(8), 2373; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26082373 - 19 Apr 2021
Abstract
The zinc dithiocarbamates functionalized with folic acid 2Zn and 3Zn were synthesized with a simple straightforward method, using an appropriated folic acid derivative and a functionalized zinc dithiocarbamate (1Zn). Zinc complexes 2Zn and 3Zn show very [...] Read more.
The zinc dithiocarbamates functionalized with folic acid 2Zn and 3Zn were synthesized with a simple straightforward method, using an appropriated folic acid derivative and a functionalized zinc dithiocarbamate (1Zn). Zinc complexes 2Zn and 3Zn show very low solubilities in water, making them useful for preparing Tc-99m radiopharmaceuticals with a potentially high molar activity. Thus, the transmetallation reaction in water medium between the zinc complexes 2Zn or 3Zn and the cation fac-[99mTc(H2O)3(CO)3]+, in the presence of the monodentate ligand TPPTS, leads to the formation of the 2 + 1 complexes fac-[99mTc(CO)3(SS)(P)] bioconjugated to folic acid (2Tc and 3Tc). In spite of the low solubility of 2Zn and 3Zn in water, the reaction yield is higher than 95%, and the excess zinc reagent is easily removed by centrifugation. The Tc-99m complexes were characterized by comparing their HPLC with those of the homologous rhenium complexes (2Re and 3Re) previously synthesized and characterized by standard methods. Preliminary in vivo studies with 2Tc and 3Tc indicate low specific binding to folate receptors. In summary, Tc-99m folates 2Tc and 3Tc were prepared in high yields, using a one-pot transmetallation reaction with low soluble zinc dithiocarbamates (>1 ppm), at moderate temperature, without needing a subsequent purification step. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technetium and Rhenium in Chemistry and Their Advanced Applications)
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Article
Hydrophilic and Functionalized Nanographene Oxide Incorporated Faster Dissolving Megestrol Acetate
Molecules 2021, 26(7), 1972; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26071972 - 31 Mar 2021
Abstract
The aim of this work is to present an approach to enhance the dissolution of progestin medication, megestrol acetate (also known as MEGACE), for improving the dissolution rate and kinetic solubility by incorporating nano graphene oxide (nGO). An antisolvent precipitation process was investigated [...] Read more.
The aim of this work is to present an approach to enhance the dissolution of progestin medication, megestrol acetate (also known as MEGACE), for improving the dissolution rate and kinetic solubility by incorporating nano graphene oxide (nGO). An antisolvent precipitation process was investigated for nGO-drug composite preparation, where prepared composites showed crystalline properties that were similar to the pure drug but enhanced aqueous dispersibility and colloidal stability. To validate the efficient release profile of composite, in vitro dissolution testing was carried out using United States Pharmacopeia, USP-42 paddle method, with gastric pH (1.4) and intestinal pH (6.5) solutions to mimic in vivo conditions. Pure MA is practically insoluble (2 µg/mL at 37 °C). With the incorporation of nGO, it was possible to dissolve nearly 100% in the assay. With the incorporation of 1.0% of nGO, the time required to dissolve 50% and 80% of drug, namely T50 and T80, decreased from 138.0 min to 27.0 min, and the drug did not dissolve for 97.0 min in gastric media, respectively. Additionally, studies done in intestinal media have revealed T50 did not dissolve for 92.0 min. This work shows promise in incorporating functionalized nanoparticles into the crystal lattice of poorly soluble drugs to improve dissolution rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Poorly Soluble Drugs)
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Article
Comparison of Electropolishing of Aluminum in a Deep Eutectic Medium and Acidic Electrolyte
Molecules 2020, 25(23), 5712; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25235712 - 03 Dec 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Research advances in electropolishing, with respect to the field of metalworking, have afforded significant improvements in the surface roughness and conductivity properties of aluminum polished surfaces in ways that machine polishing and simple chemical polishing cannot. The effects of a deep eutectic medium [...] Read more.
Research advances in electropolishing, with respect to the field of metalworking, have afforded significant improvements in the surface roughness and conductivity properties of aluminum polished surfaces in ways that machine polishing and simple chemical polishing cannot. The effects of a deep eutectic medium as an acid-free electrolyte were tested to determine the potential energy thresholds during electropolishing treatments based upon temperature, experiment duration, current, and voltage. Using voltammetry and chronoamperometry tests during electropolishing to supplement representative recordings via atomic force microscopy (AFM), surface morphology comparisons were performed regarding the electropolishing efficiency of phosphoric acid and acid-free ionic liquid treatments for aluminum. This eco-friendly solution produced polished surfaces superior to those surfaces treated with industry standard acid electrochemistry treatments of 1 M phosphoric acid. The roughness average of the as-received sample became 6.11 times smoother, improving from 159 nm to 26 nm when electropolished with the deep eutectic solvent. This result was accompanied by a mass loss of 0.039 g and a 7.2 µm change in step height along the edge of the electropolishing interface, whereas the acid treatment resulted in a slight improvement in surface roughness, becoming 1.63 times smoother with an average post-electropolishing roughness of 97.7 nm, yielding a mass loss of 0.0458 g and a step height of 8.1 µm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ionic Liquids for Materials and Energy)
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Article
New Natural Oxygenated Sesquiterpenes and Chemical Composition of Leaf Essential Oil from Ivoirian Isolona dewevrei (De Wild. & T. Durand) Engl. & Diels
Molecules 2020, 25(23), 5613; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25235613 - 29 Nov 2020
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the chemical composition of the leaf essential oil from Ivoirian Isolona dewevrei. A combination of chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques (GC(RI), GC-MS and 13C-NMR) was used to analyze two oil samples (S1 and S2). Detailed analysis by [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the chemical composition of the leaf essential oil from Ivoirian Isolona dewevrei. A combination of chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques (GC(RI), GC-MS and 13C-NMR) was used to analyze two oil samples (S1 and S2). Detailed analysis by repetitive column chromatography (CC) of essential oil sample S2 was performed, leading to the isolation of four compounds. Their structures were elucidated by QTOF-MS, 1D and 2D-NMR as (10βH)-1β,8β-oxido-cadin-4-ene (38), 4-methylene-(7αH)-germacra-1(10),5-dien-8β-ol (cis-germacrene D-8-ol) (52), 4-methylene-(7αH)-germacra-1(10),5-dien-8α-ol (trans-germacrene D-8-ol) (53) and cadina-1(10),4-dien-8β-ol (56). Compounds 38, 52 and 53 are new, whereas NMR data of 56 are reported for the first time. Lastly, 57 constituents accounting for 95.5% (S1) and 97.1% (S2) of the whole compositions were identified. Samples S1 and S2 were dominated by germacrene D (23.6 and 20.5%, respectively), followed by germacrene D-8-one (8.9 and 8.7%), (10βH)-1β,8β-oxido-cadin-4-ene (7.3 and 8.7), 4-methylene-(7αH)-germacra-1(10),5-dien-8β-ol (7.8 and 7.4%) and cadina-1(10),4-dien-8β-ol (7.6 and 7.2%). Leaves from I. dewevrei produced sesquiterpene-rich essential oil with an original chemical composition, involving various compounds reported for the first time among the main components. Integrated analysis by GC(RI), GC-MS and 13C-NMR appeared fruitful for the knowledge of such a complex essential oil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Flavours and Fragrances)
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Article
Influence of Triazole Pesticides on Wine Flavor and Quality Based on Multidimensional Analysis Technology
Molecules 2020, 25(23), 5596; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25235596 - 28 Nov 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Triazole pesticides are widely used to control grapevine diseases. In this study, we investigated the impact of three triazole pesticides—triadimefon, tebuconazole, and paclobutrazol—on the concentrations of wine aroma compounds. All three triazole pesticides significantly affected the ester and acid aroma components. Among them, [...] Read more.
Triazole pesticides are widely used to control grapevine diseases. In this study, we investigated the impact of three triazole pesticides—triadimefon, tebuconazole, and paclobutrazol—on the concentrations of wine aroma compounds. All three triazole pesticides significantly affected the ester and acid aroma components. Among them, paclobutrazol exhibited the greatest negative influence on the wine aroma quality through its effect on the ester and acid aroma substances, followed by tebuconazole and triadimefon. Qualitative and quantitative analysis by solid-phase micro-extraction gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry revealed that the triazole pesticides also changed the flower and fruit flavor component contents of the wines. This was attributed to changes in the yeast fermentation activity caused by the pesticide residues. The study reveals that triazole pesticides negatively impact on the volatile composition of wines with a potential undesirable effect on wine quality, underlining the desirability of stricter control by the food industry over pesticide residues in winemaking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wine Sensory Faults: Origin, Prevention and Removal)
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Article
High-Throughput Screening for Inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 Protease Using a FRET-Biosensor
Molecules 2020, 25(20), 4666; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25204666 - 13 Oct 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
The global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic started late 2019 and currently continues unabated. The lag-time for developing vaccines means it is of paramount importance to be able to quickly develop and repurpose therapeutic drugs. Protein-based biosensors allow screening to be performed using routine molecular laboratory [...] Read more.
The global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic started late 2019 and currently continues unabated. The lag-time for developing vaccines means it is of paramount importance to be able to quickly develop and repurpose therapeutic drugs. Protein-based biosensors allow screening to be performed using routine molecular laboratory equipment without a need for expensive chemical reagents. Here we present a biosensor for the 3-chymotrypsin-like cysteine protease from SARS-CoV-2, comprising a FRET-capable pair of fluorescent proteins held in proximity by a protease cleavable linker. We demonstrate the utility of this biosensor for inhibitor discovery by screening 1280 compounds from the Library of Pharmaceutically Active Compounds collection. The screening identified 65 inhibitors, with the 20 most active exhibiting sub-micromolar inhibition of 3CLpro in follow-up EC50 assays. The top hits included several compounds not previously identified as 3CLpro inhibitors, in particular five members of a family of aporphine alkaloids that offer promise as new antiviral drug leads. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Chemical Biology)
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Article
Super Secondary Structures of Proteins with Post-Translational Modifications in Colon Cancer
Molecules 2020, 25(14), 3144; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25143144 - 09 Jul 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
New advances in protein post-translational modifications (PTMs) have revealed a complex layer of regulatory mechanisms through which PTMs control cell signaling and metabolic pathways, contributing to the diverse metabolic phenotypes found in cancer. Using conformational templates and the three-dimensional (3D) environment investigation of [...] Read more.
New advances in protein post-translational modifications (PTMs) have revealed a complex layer of regulatory mechanisms through which PTMs control cell signaling and metabolic pathways, contributing to the diverse metabolic phenotypes found in cancer. Using conformational templates and the three-dimensional (3D) environment investigation of proteins in patients with colorectal cancer, it was demonstrated that most PTMs (phosphorylation, acetylation, and ubiquitination) are localized in the supersecondary structures (helical pairs). We showed that such helical pairs are represented on the outer surface of protein molecules and characterized by a largely accessible area for the surrounding solvent. Most promising and meaningful modifications were observed on the surface of vitamin D-binding protein (VDBP), complement C4-A (CO4A), X-ray repair cross-complementing protein 6 (XRCC6), Plasma protease C1 inhibitor (IC1), and albumin (ALBU), which are related to colorectal cancer developing. Based on the presented data, we propose the impact of the observed modifications in immune response, inflammatory reaction, regulation of cell migration, and promotion of tumor growth. Here, we suggest a computational approach in which high-throughput analysis for identification and characterization of PTM signature, associated with cancer metabolic reprograming, can be improved to prognostic value and bring a new strategy to the targeted therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Structure)
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Article
Exploring the Characteristics of an Aroma-Blending Mixture by Investigating the Network of Shared Odors and the Molecular Features of Their Related Odorants
Molecules 2020, 25(13), 3032; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25133032 - 02 Jul 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The perception of aroma mixtures is based on interactions beginning at the peripheral olfactory system, but the process remains poorly understood. The perception of a mixture of ethyl isobutyrate (Et-iB, strawberry-like odor) and ethyl maltol (Et-M, caramel-like odor) was investigated previously in both [...] Read more.
The perception of aroma mixtures is based on interactions beginning at the peripheral olfactory system, but the process remains poorly understood. The perception of a mixture of ethyl isobutyrate (Et-iB, strawberry-like odor) and ethyl maltol (Et-M, caramel-like odor) was investigated previously in both human and animal studies. In those studies, the binary mixture of Et-iB and Et-M was found to be configurally processed. In humans, the mixture was judged as more typical of a pineapple odor, similar to allyl hexanoate (Al-H, pineapple-like odor), than the odors of the individual components. To explore the key features of this aroma blend, we developed an in silico approach based on molecules having at least one of the odors—strawberry, caramel or pineapple. A dataset of 293 molecules and their related odors was built. We applied the notion of a “social network” to describe the network of the odors. Additionally, we explored the structural properties of the molecules in this dataset. The network of the odors revealed peculiar links between odors, while the structural study emphasized key characteristics of the molecules. The association between “strawberry” and “caramel” notes, as well as the structural diversity of the “strawberry” molecules, were notable. Such elements would be key to identifying potential odors/odorants to form aroma blends. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Flavours and Fragrances)
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Article
Unveiling the Lewis Acid Catalyzed Diels–Alder Reactions Through the Molecular Electron Density Theory
Molecules 2020, 25(11), 2535; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25112535 - 29 May 2020
Cited by 12
Abstract
The effects of metal-based Lewis acid (LA) catalysts on the reaction rate and regioselectivity in polar Diels–Alder (P-DA) reactions has been analyzed within the molecular electron density theory (MEDT). A clear linear correlation between the reduction of the activation energies and the increase [...] Read more.
The effects of metal-based Lewis acid (LA) catalysts on the reaction rate and regioselectivity in polar Diels–Alder (P-DA) reactions has been analyzed within the molecular electron density theory (MEDT). A clear linear correlation between the reduction of the activation energies and the increase of the polar character of the reactions measured by analysis of the global electron density transfer at the corresponding transition state structures (TS) is found, a behavior easily predictable by analysis of the electrophilicity ω and nucleophilicity N indices of the reagents. The presence of a strong electron-releasing group in the diene changes the mechanism of these P-DA reactions from a two-stage one-step to a two-step one via formation of a zwitterionic intermediate. However, this change in the reaction mechanism does not have any chemical relevance. This MEDT study makes it possible to establish that the more favorable nucleophilic/electrophilic interactions taking place at the TSs of LA catalyzed P-DA reactions are responsible for the high acceleration and complete regioselectivity experimentally observed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cycloadditions: Theory, Practice, and Applications)
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Article
Ruthenium-Loaded Halloysite Nanotubes as Mesocatalysts for Fischer–Tropsch Synthesis
Molecules 2020, 25(8), 1764; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25081764 - 11 Apr 2020
Cited by 12
Abstract
Halloysite aluminosilicate nanotubes loaded with ruthenium particles were used as reactors for Fischer–Tropsch synthesis. To load ruthenium inside clay, selective modification of the external surface with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, urea, or acetone azine was performed. Reduction of materials in a flow of hydrogen at [...] Read more.
Halloysite aluminosilicate nanotubes loaded with ruthenium particles were used as reactors for Fischer–Tropsch synthesis. To load ruthenium inside clay, selective modification of the external surface with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, urea, or acetone azine was performed. Reduction of materials in a flow of hydrogen at 400 °C resulted in catalysts loaded with 2 wt.% of 3.5 nm Ru particles, densely packed inside the tubes. Catalysts were characterized by N2-adsorption, temperature-programmed desorption of ammonia, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray fluorescence, and X-ray diffraction analysis. We concluded that the total acidity and specific morphology of reactors were the major factors influencing activity and selectivity toward CH4, C2–4, and C5+ hydrocarbons in the Fischer–Tropsch process. Use of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid for ruthenium binding gave a methanation catalyst with ca. 50% selectivity to methane and C2–4. Urea-modified halloysite resulted in the Ru-nanoreactors with high selectivity to valuable C5+ hydrocarbons containing few olefins and a high number of heavy fractions (α = 0.87). Modification with acetone azine gave the slightly higher CO conversion rate close to 19% and highest selectivity in C5+ products. Using a halloysite tube with a 10–20-nm lumen decreased the diffusion limitation and helped to produce high-molecular-weight hydrocarbons. The extremely small C2–C4 fraction obtained from the urea- and azine-modified sample was not reachable for non-templated Ru-nanoparticles. Dense packing of Ru nanoparticles increased the contact time of olefins and their reabsorption, producing higher amounts of C5+ hydrocarbons. Loading of Ru inside the nanoclay increased the particle stability and prevented their aggregation under reaction conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Research Advance in the Halloysite Nanotubes Field)
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Article
Interactions among Odorants, Phenolic Compounds, and Oral Components and Their Effects on Wine Aroma Volatility
Molecules 2020, 25(7), 1701; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25071701 - 08 Apr 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
To determine the impact of oral physiology on the volatility of typical wine aroma compounds, mixtures of a synthetic wine with oral components (centrifuged human saliva (HS), artificial saliva with mucin (AS), and buccal epithelial cells (BC)) were prepared. Each wine type was [...] Read more.
To determine the impact of oral physiology on the volatility of typical wine aroma compounds, mixtures of a synthetic wine with oral components (centrifuged human saliva (HS), artificial saliva with mucin (AS), and buccal epithelial cells (BC)) were prepared. Each wine type was independently spiked with four relevant wine odorants (guaiacol, β-phenyl ethanol, ethyl hexanoate, and β-ionone). Additionally, the impact of four types of phenolic compounds (gallic acid, catechin, grape seed extract, and a red wine extract) on aroma volatility in the HS, AS, and BC wines was also assessed. Static headspace was measured at equilibrium by solid phase microextraction–GC/MS analysis. Results showed a significant impact of oral components on the volatility of the four tested odorants. Independently of the type of aroma compound, aroma volatility was in general, higher in wines with BC. Moreover, while guaiacol and ethyl hexanoate volatility was significantly lower in wines with HS compared to wines with AS, β-ionone showed the opposite behavior, which might be related to metabolism and retention of mucin, respectively. Phenolic compounds also showed a different effect on aroma volatility depending on the type of compound and wine. Gallic acid had little effect on polar compounds but it enhanced the volatility of the most hydrophobic ones (ethyl hexanoate and β-ionone). In general, flavonoid type polyphenols significantly reduced the volatility of both polar (guaiacol and β-phenyl ethanol) and hydrophobic compounds (β-ionone in HS and BC wines), but through different mechanisms (e.g., π–π interactions and hydrophobic binding for polar and apolar odorants respectively). On the contrary, flavonoids enhanced the volatility of ethyl hexanoate, which might be due to the inhibition exerted on some salivary enzymes (e.g., carboxyl esterase) involved in the metabolism of this odorant molecule. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Oral Processing and Flavour)
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Article
In Situ Assessment of Intrinsic Strength of X-I⋯OA-Type Halogen Bonds in Molecular Crystals with Periodic Local Vibrational Mode Theory
Molecules 2020, 25(7), 1589; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25071589 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 14
Abstract
Periodic local vibrational modes were calculated with the rev-vdW-DF2 density functional to quantify the intrinsic strength of the X-I⋯OA-type halogen bonding (X = I or Cl; OA: carbonyl, ether and N-oxide groups) in 32 model systems originating from 20 molecular crystals. We [...] Read more.
Periodic local vibrational modes were calculated with the rev-vdW-DF2 density functional to quantify the intrinsic strength of the X-I⋯OA-type halogen bonding (X = I or Cl; OA: carbonyl, ether and N-oxide groups) in 32 model systems originating from 20 molecular crystals. We found that the halogen bonding between the donor dihalogen X-I and the wide collection of acceptor molecules OA features considerable variations of the local stretching force constants (0.1–0.8 mdyn/Å) for I⋯O halogen bonds, demonstrating its powerful tunability in bond strength. Strong correlations between bond length and local stretching force constant were observed in crystals for both the donor X-I bonds and I⋯O halogen bonds, extending for the first time the generalized Badger’s rule to crystals. It is demonstrated that the halogen atom X controlling the electrostatic attraction between the σ -hole on atom I and the acceptor atom O dominates the intrinsic strength of I⋯O halogen bonds. Different oxygen-containing acceptor molecules OA and even subtle changes induced by substituents can tweak the n σ (X-I) charge transfer character, which is the second important factor determining the I⋯O bond strength. In addition, the presence of the second halogen bond with atom X of the donor X-I bond in crystals can substantially weaken the target I⋯O halogen bond. In summary, this study performing the in situ measurement of halogen bonding strength in crystalline structures demonstrates the vast potential of the periodic local vibrational mode theory for characterizing and understanding non-covalent interactions in materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Halogen Bonding: Insights from Computational Tools)
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Article
Disordered Residues and Patterns in the Protein Data Bank
Molecules 2020, 25(7), 1522; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25071522 - 27 Mar 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
We created a new library of disordered patterns and disordered residues in the Protein Data Bank (PDB). To obtain such datasets, we clustered the PDB and obtained the groups of chains with different identities and marked disordered residues. We elaborated a new procedure [...] Read more.
We created a new library of disordered patterns and disordered residues in the Protein Data Bank (PDB). To obtain such datasets, we clustered the PDB and obtained the groups of chains with different identities and marked disordered residues. We elaborated a new procedure for finding disordered patterns and created a new version of the library. This library includes three sets of patterns: unique patterns, patterns consisting of two kinds of amino acids, and homo-repeats. Using this database, the user can: (1) find homologues in the entire Protein Data Bank; (2) perform a statistical analysis of disordered residues in protein structures; (3) search for disordered patterns and homo-repeats; (4) search for disordered regions in different chains of the same protein; (5) download clusters of protein chains with different identity from our database and library of disordered patterns; and (6) observe 3D structure interactively using MView. A new library of disordered patterns will help improve the accuracy of predictions for residues that will be structured or unstructured in a given region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Structure)
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Article
Unveiling the Molecular Basis of Mascarpone Cheese Aroma: VOCs analysis by SPME-GC/MS and PTR-ToF-MS
Molecules 2020, 25(5), 1242; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25051242 - 10 Mar 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Mascarpone, a soft-spread cheese, is an unripened dairy product manufactured by the thermal-acidic coagulation of milk cream. Due to the mild flavor and creamy consistency, it is a base ingredient in industrial, culinary, and homemade preparations (e.g., it is a key constituent of [...] Read more.
Mascarpone, a soft-spread cheese, is an unripened dairy product manufactured by the thermal-acidic coagulation of milk cream. Due to the mild flavor and creamy consistency, it is a base ingredient in industrial, culinary, and homemade preparations (e.g., it is a key constituent of a widely appreciated Italian dessert ‘Tiramisù’). Probably due to this relevance as an ingredient rather than as directly consumed foodstuff, mascarpone has not been often the subject of detailed studies. To the best of our knowledge, no investigation has been carried out on the volatile compounds contributing to the mascarpone cheese aroma profile. In this study, we analyzed the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the headspace of different commercial mascarpone cheeses by two different techniques: Headspace-Solid Phase Microextraction-Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (HS-SPME GC-MS) and Proton-Transfer Reaction-Mass Spectrometry coupled to a Time of Flight mass analyzer (PTR-ToF-MS). We coupled these two approaches due to the complementarity of the analytical potential—efficient separation and identification of the analytes on the one side (HS-SPME GC-MS), and effective, fast quantitative analysis without any sample preparation on the other (PTR-ToF-MS). A total of 27 VOCs belonging to different chemical classes (9 ketones, 5 alcohols, 4 organic acids, 3 hydrocarbons, 2 furans, 1 ester, 1 lactone, 1 aldehyde, and 1 oxime) have been identified by HS-SPME GC-MS, while PTR-ToF-MS allowed a rapid snapshot of volatile diversity confirming the aptitude to rapid noninvasive quality control and the potential in commercial sample differentiation. Ketones (2-heptanone and 2-pentanone, in particular) are the most abundant compounds in mascarpone headspace, followed by 2-propanone, 2-nonanone, 2-butanone, 1-pentanol, 2-ethyl-1-hexanol, furfural and 2-furanmethanol. The study also provides preliminary information on the differentiation of the aroma of different brands and product types. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Volatile Compounds and Smell Chemicals (Odor and Aroma) of Food)
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Article
Revealing the Iron-Catalyzed β-Methyl Scission of tert-Butoxyl Radicals via the Mechanistic Studies of Carboazidation of Alkenes
Molecules 2020, 25(5), 1224; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25051224 - 09 Mar 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
We describe here a mechanistic study of the iron-catalyzed carboazidation of alkenes involving an intriguing metal-assisted β-methyl scission process. Although t-BuO radical has frequently been observed in experiments, the β-methyl scission from a t-BuO radical into a methyl radical and acetone is still [...] Read more.
We describe here a mechanistic study of the iron-catalyzed carboazidation of alkenes involving an intriguing metal-assisted β-methyl scission process. Although t-BuO radical has frequently been observed in experiments, the β-methyl scission from a t-BuO radical into a methyl radical and acetone is still broadly believed to be thermodynamically spontaneous and difficult to control. An iron-catalyzed β-methyl scission of t-BuO is investigated in this work. Compared to a free t-BuO radical, the coordination at the iron atom reduces the activation energy for the scission from 9.3 to 3.9 ~ 5.2 kcal/mol. The low activation energy makes the iron-catalyzed β-methyl scission of t-BuO radicals almost an incomparably facile process and explains the selective formation of methyl radicals at low temperature in the presence of some iron catalysts. In addition, a radical relay process and an outer-sphere radical azidation process in the iron-catalyzed carboazidation of alkenes are suggested by density functional theory (DFT) calculations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Iron Catalysis)
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Article
Design of Deep Eutectic Systems: A Simple Approach for Preselecting Eutectic Mixture Constituents
Molecules 2020, 25(5), 1077; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25051077 - 28 Feb 2020
Cited by 17
Abstract
Eutectic systems offer a wide range of new (green) designer solvents for diverse applications. However, due to the large pool of possible compounds, selecting compounds that form eutectic systems is not straightforward. In this study, a simple approach for preselecting possible candidates from [...] Read more.
Eutectic systems offer a wide range of new (green) designer solvents for diverse applications. However, due to the large pool of possible compounds, selecting compounds that form eutectic systems is not straightforward. In this study, a simple approach for preselecting possible candidates from a pool of substances sharing the same chemical functionality was presented. First, the melting entropy of single compounds was correlated with their molecular structure to calculate their melting enthalpy. Subsequently, the eutectic temperature of the screened binary systems was qualitatively predicted, and the systems were ordered according to the depth of the eutectic temperature. The approach was demonstrated for six hydrophobic eutectic systems composed of L-menthol and monocarboxylic acids with linear and cyclic structures. It was found that the melting entropy of compounds sharing the same functionality could be well correlated with their molecular structures. As a result, when the two acids had a similar melting temperature, the melting enthalpy of a rigid acid was found to be lower than that of a flexible acid. It was demonstrated that compounds with more rigid molecular structures could form deeper eutectics. The proposed approach could decrease the experimental efforts required to design deep eutectic solvents, particularly when the melting enthalpy of pure components is not available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Liquids)
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Article
Iron-Catalysed C(sp2)-H Borylation Enabled by Carboxylate Activation
Molecules 2020, 25(4), 905; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25040905 - 18 Feb 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Arene C(sp2)-H bond borylation reactions provide rapid and efficient routes to synthetically versatile boronic esters. While iridium catalysts are well established for this reaction, the discovery and development of methods using Earth-abundant alternatives is limited to just a few examples. [...] Read more.
Arene C(sp2)-H bond borylation reactions provide rapid and efficient routes to synthetically versatile boronic esters. While iridium catalysts are well established for this reaction, the discovery and development of methods using Earth-abundant alternatives is limited to just a few examples. Applying an in situ catalyst activation method using air-stable and easily handed reagents, the iron-catalysed C(sp2)-H borylation reactions of furans and thiophenes under blue light irradiation have been developed. Key reaction intermediates have been prepared and characterised, and suggest two mechanistic pathways are in action involving both C-H metallation and the formation of an iron boryl species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Iron Catalysis)
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Article
Analysis of Phospholipids, Lysophospholipids, and Their Linked Fatty Acyl Chains in Yellow Lupin Seeds (Lupinus luteus L.) by Liquid Chromatography and Tandem Mass Spectrometry
Molecules 2020, 25(4), 805; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25040805 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
Hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) and electrospray ionization (ESI) coupled to either Fourier-transform (FT) orbital-trap or linear ion-trap tandem mass spectrometry (LIT-MS/MS) was used to characterize the phospholipidome of yellow lupin (Lupinus luteus) seeds. Phosphatidylcholines (PC) were the most abundant species [...] Read more.
Hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) and electrospray ionization (ESI) coupled to either Fourier-transform (FT) orbital-trap or linear ion-trap tandem mass spectrometry (LIT-MS/MS) was used to characterize the phospholipidome of yellow lupin (Lupinus luteus) seeds. Phosphatidylcholines (PC) were the most abundant species (41 ± 6%), which were followed by lyso-forms LPC (30 ± 11%), phosphatidylethanolamines (PE, 13 ± 4%), phosphatidylglycerols (PG, 5.1 ± 1.7%), phosphatidic acids (PA, 4.9 ± 1.8%), phosphatidylinositols (PI, 4.7 ± 1.1%), and LPE (1.2 ± 0.5%). The occurrence of both isomeric forms of several LPC and LPE was inferred by a well-defined fragmentation pattern observed in negative ion mode. An unprecedented characterization of more than 200 polar lipids including 52 PC, 42 PE, 42 PA, 35 PG, 16 LPC, 13 LPE, and 10 PI, is reported. The most abundant fatty acids (FA) as esterified acyl chains in PL were 18:1 (oleic), 18:2 (linoleic), 16:0 (palmitic), and 18:3 (linolenic) with relatively high contents of long fatty acyl chains such as 22:0 (behenic), 24:0 (lignoceric), 20:1 (gondoic), and 22:1 (erucic). Their occurrence was confirmed by reversed-phase (RP) LC-ESI-FTMS analysis of a chemically hydrolyzed sample extract in acid conditions at 100 °C for 45 min. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Food and Natural Product Analysis)
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Article
Development of RNA/DNA Hydrogel Targeting Toll-Like Receptor 7/8 for Sustained RNA Release and Potent Immune Activation
Molecules 2020, 25(3), 728; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25030728 - 07 Feb 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Guanosine- and uridine-rich single-stranded RNA (GU-rich RNA) is an agonist of Toll-like receptor (TLR) 7 and TLR8 and induces strong immune responses. A nanostructured GU-rich RNA/DNA assembly prepared using DNA nanotechnology can be used as an adjuvant capable of improving the biological stability [...] Read more.
Guanosine- and uridine-rich single-stranded RNA (GU-rich RNA) is an agonist of Toll-like receptor (TLR) 7 and TLR8 and induces strong immune responses. A nanostructured GU-rich RNA/DNA assembly prepared using DNA nanotechnology can be used as an adjuvant capable of improving the biological stability of RNA and promoting efficient RNA delivery to target immune cells. To achieve a sustained supply of GU-rich RNA to immune cells, we developed a GU-rich RNA/DNA hydrogel (RDgel) using nanostructured GU-rich RNA/DNA assembly, from which GU-rich RNA can be released in a sustained manner. A hexapod-like GU-rich RNA/DNA nanostructure, or hexapodRD6, was designed using a 20-mer phosphorothioate-stabilized GU-rich RNA and six phosphodiester DNAs. Two sets of hexapodRD6 were mixed to obtain RDgel. Under serum-containing conditions, GU-rich RNA was gradually released from the RDgel. Fluorescently labeled GU-rich RNA was efficiently taken up by DC2.4 murine dendritic cells and induced a high level of tumor necrosis factor-α release from these cells when it was incorporated into RDgel. These results indicate that the RDgel constructed using DNA nanotechnology can be a useful adjuvant in cancer therapy with sustained RNA release and high immunostimulatory activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Hydrogels: Synthesis and Applications)
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Article
Oxidative Dearomative Cross-Dehydrogenative Coupling of Indoles with Diverse C-H Nucleophiles: Efficient Approach to 2,2-Disubstituted Indolin-3-ones
Molecules 2020, 25(2), 419; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25020419 - 20 Jan 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
The oxidative, dearomative cross-dehydrogenative coupling of indoles with various C-H nucleophiles is developed. This process features a broad substrate scope with respect to both indoles and nucleophiles, affording structurally diverse 2,2-disubstituted indolin-3-ones in high yields (up to 99%). The oxidative dimerization and trimerization [...] Read more.
The oxidative, dearomative cross-dehydrogenative coupling of indoles with various C-H nucleophiles is developed. This process features a broad substrate scope with respect to both indoles and nucleophiles, affording structurally diverse 2,2-disubstituted indolin-3-ones in high yields (up to 99%). The oxidative dimerization and trimerization of indoles has also been demonstrated under the same conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cross-Coupling Reactions)
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Article
Characterization of Volatile and Flavonoid Composition of Different Cuts of Dried Onion (Allium cepa L.) by HS-SPME-GC-MS, HS-SPME-GC×GC-TOF and HPLC-DAD
Molecules 2020, 25(2), 408; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25020408 - 18 Jan 2020
Cited by 10
Abstract
Onion is widely used worldwide in various forms for both food and medicinal applications, thanks to its high content of phytonutrients, such as flavonoids and volatile sulfur compounds. Fresh onion is very perishable and drying is widely applied for extending shelf-life, thus obtaining [...] Read more.
Onion is widely used worldwide in various forms for both food and medicinal applications, thanks to its high content of phytonutrients, such as flavonoids and volatile sulfur compounds. Fresh onion is very perishable and drying is widely applied for extending shelf-life, thus obtaining a very easy-to-use functional food ingredient. The flavonoid and volatile fractions of different onion cuts (flakes, rings) prepared through different drying cycles in a static oven, were characterized by high-performance liquid chromatography with a diode-array detector HPLC-DAD, Head Space-Solid Phase Micro Extraction followed by Gas Chromatography coupled with Mass Spectrometry (HS-SPME-GC-MS) and Head-Space Solid Phase Micro Extraction followed by comprehensive two-dimensional Gas-Chromatography (HS-SPME-GC×GC-TOF). Onion flakes showed a significantly higher flavonoid content (3.56 mg g−1) than onion rings (2.04 mg g−1). Onion flakes showed greater amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (127.26 mg g−1) than onion rings (42.79 mg g−1), with different relative amounts of di- and trisulfides—disulfides largely predominate the volatile fraction (amounts over 60% on the total volatile content), followed by trisulfides and dipropyl disulfide and dipropyl trisulfide were the most abundant VOCs. HS-SPME-GC×GC-TOF allowed for the detection of the presence of allylthiol, diethanol sulfide, 4,6-diethyl1,2,3,5-tetrathiolane, not detected by HS-SPME-GC-MS, and provided a fast and direct visualization and comparison of different samples. These results highlight different nutraceutical properties of dried onion samples processed otherwise, only differing in shape and size, thus pointing out potentially different uses as functional ingredients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Analysis of Volatile and Odor Compounds in Food)
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Communication
Probabilistic Approach for Virtual Screening Based on Multiple Pharmacophores
Molecules 2020, 25(2), 385; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25020385 - 17 Jan 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Pharmacophore modeling is usually considered as a special type of virtual screening without probabilistic nature. Correspondence of at least one conformation of a molecule to pharmacophore is considered as evidence of its bioactivity. We show that pharmacophores can be treated as one-class machine [...] Read more.
Pharmacophore modeling is usually considered as a special type of virtual screening without probabilistic nature. Correspondence of at least one conformation of a molecule to pharmacophore is considered as evidence of its bioactivity. We show that pharmacophores can be treated as one-class machine learning models, and the probability the reflecting model’s confidence can be assigned to a pharmacophore on the basis of their precision of active compounds identification on a calibration set. Two schemes (Max and Mean) of probability calculation for consensus prediction based on individual pharmacophore models were proposed. Both approaches to some extent correspond to commonly used consensus approaches like the common hit approach or the one based on a logical OR operation uniting hit lists of individual models. Unlike some known approaches, the proposed ones can rank compounds retrieved by multiple models. These approaches were benchmarked on multiple ChEMBL datasets used for ligand-based pharmacophore modeling and externally validated on corresponding DUD-E datasets. The influence of complexity of pharmacophores and their performance on a calibration set on results of virtual screening was analyzed. It was shown that Max and Mean approaches have superior early enrichment to the commonly used approaches. Thus, a well-performing, easy-to-implement, and probabilistic alternative to existing approaches for pharmacophore-based virtual screening was proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Computational and Theoretical Chemistry)
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Article
Iron-Catalyzed C(sp2)–C(sp3) Cross-Coupling of Aryl Chlorobenzoates with Alkyl Grignard Reagents
Molecules 2020, 25(1), 230; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25010230 - 06 Jan 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Aryl benzoates are compounds of high importance in organic synthesis. Herein, we report the iron-catalyzed C(sp2)–C(sp3) Kumada cross-coupling of aryl chlorobenzoates with alkyl Grignard reagents. The method is characterized by the use of environmentally benign and sustainable iron salts [...] Read more.
Aryl benzoates are compounds of high importance in organic synthesis. Herein, we report the iron-catalyzed C(sp2)–C(sp3) Kumada cross-coupling of aryl chlorobenzoates with alkyl Grignard reagents. The method is characterized by the use of environmentally benign and sustainable iron salts for cross-coupling in the catalytic system, employing benign urea ligands in the place of reprotoxic NMP (NMP = N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone). It is notable that high selectivity for the cross-coupling is achieved in the presence of hydrolytically-labile and prone to nucleophilic addition phenolic ester C(acyl)–O bonds. The reaction provides access to alkyl-functionalized aryl benzoates. The examination of various O-coordinating ligands demonstrates the high activity of urea ligands in promoting the cross-coupling versus nucleophilic addition to the ester C(acyl)–O bond. The method showcases the functional group tolerance of iron-catalyzed Kumada cross-couplings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Iron Catalysis)
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Article
Rutin, γ-Aminobutyric Acid, Gallic Acid, and Caffeine Negatively Affect the Sweet-Mellow Taste of Congou Black Tea Infusions
Molecules 2019, 24(23), 4221; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules24234221 - 20 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The sweet-mellow taste sensation is a unique and typical feature of premium congou black tea infusions. To explore the key taste-active compounds that influence the sweet-mellow taste, a sensory and molecular characterization was performed on thirty-three congou black tea infusions presenting different taste [...] Read more.
The sweet-mellow taste sensation is a unique and typical feature of premium congou black tea infusions. To explore the key taste-active compounds that influence the sweet-mellow taste, a sensory and molecular characterization was performed on thirty-three congou black tea infusions presenting different taste qualities, including the sweet-mellow, mellow-pure, or less-mellow taste. An integrated application of quantitative analysis of 48 taste-active compounds, taste contribution analysis, and further validation by taste supplementation experiments, combined with human sensory evaluation revealed that caffeine, γ-aminobutyric acid, rutin, succinic acid, citric acid, and gallic acid negatively affect the sweet-mellow taste, whereas glucose, sucrose, and ornithine positively contribute to the sweet-mellow taste of congou black tea infusions. Particularly, rutin, γ-aminobutyric acid, gallic acid, and caffeine, which impart the major inhibitory effect to the manifestation of the sweet-mellow taste, were identified as the key influencing components through stepwise screening and validation experiments. A modest level of these compounds was found to be favorable for the development and manifestation of the sweet-mellow taste. These compounds might potentially serve as the regulatory targets for oriented-manufacturing of high-quality sweet-mellow congou black tea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Flavours and Fragrances)
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Article
Enhanced Reactant Distribution in Redox Flow Cells
Molecules 2019, 24(21), 3877; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules24213877 - 28 Oct 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Redox flow batteries (RFBs), provide a safe and cost-effective means of storing energy at grid-scale, and will play an important role in the decarbonization of global electricity networks. Several approaches have been explored to improve their efficiency and power density, and recently, cell [...] Read more.
Redox flow batteries (RFBs), provide a safe and cost-effective means of storing energy at grid-scale, and will play an important role in the decarbonization of global electricity networks. Several approaches have been explored to improve their efficiency and power density, and recently, cell geometry modification has shown promise in efforts to address mass transport limitations which affect electrochemical and overall system performance. Flow-by electrode configurations have demonstrated significant power density improvements in laboratory testing, however, flow-through designs with conductive felt remain the standard at commercial scale. Concentration gradients exist within these cells, limiting their performance. A new concept of redistributing reactants within the flow frame is introduced in this paper. This research shows a 60% improvement in minimum V3+ concentration within simulated vanadium redox flow battery (VRB/VRFB) cells through the application of static mixers. The enhanced reactant distribution showed a cell voltage improvement by reducing concentration overpotential, suggesting a pathway forward to increase limiting current density and cycle efficiencies in RFBs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Electrochemical Energy Storage Devices)
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Article
A Promising Polymer Blend Electrolytes Based on Chitosan: Methyl Cellulose for EDLC Application with High Specific Capacitance and Energy Density
Molecules 2019, 24(13), 2503; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules24132503 - 09 Jul 2019
Cited by 57
Abstract
In the present work, promising proton conducting solid polymer blend electrolytes (SPBEs) composed of chitosan (CS) and methylcellulose (MC) were prepared for electrochemical double-layer capacitor (EDLC) application with a high specific capacitance and energy density. The change in intensity and the broad nature [...] Read more.
In the present work, promising proton conducting solid polymer blend electrolytes (SPBEs) composed of chitosan (CS) and methylcellulose (MC) were prepared for electrochemical double-layer capacitor (EDLC) application with a high specific capacitance and energy density. The change in intensity and the broad nature of the XRD pattern of doped samples compared to pure CS:MC system evidencedthe amorphous character of the electrolyte samples. The morphology of the samples in FESEM images supported the amorphous behavior of the solid electrolyte films. The results of impedance and Bode plotindicate that the bulk resistance decreasedwith increasing salt concentration. The highest DC conductivity was found to be 2.81 × 10−3 S/cm. The electrical equivalent circuit (EEC) model was conducted for selected samples to explain the complete picture of the electrical properties.The performance of EDLC cells was examined at room temperature by electrochemical techniques, such as impedance spectroscopy, cyclic voltammetry (CV) and constant current charge–discharge techniques. It was found that the studied samples exhibit a very good performance as electrolyte for EDLC applications. Ions were found to be the dominant charge carriers in the polymer electrolyte. The ion transference number (tion) was found to be 0.84 while 0.16 for electron transference number (tel). Through investigation of linear sweep voltammetry (LSV), the CS:MC:NH4SCN system was found to be electrochemically stable up to 1.8 V. The CV plot revealed no redox peak, indicating the occurrence of charge double-layer at the surface of activated carbon electrodes. Specific capacitance (Cspe) for the fabricated EDLC was calculated using CV plot and charge–discharge analyses. It was found to be 66.3 F g−1 and 69.9 F g−1 (at thefirst cycle), respectively. Equivalent series resistance (Resr) of the EDLC was also identified, ranging from 50.0 to 150.0 Ω. Finally, energy density (Ed) was stabilized to anaverage of 8.63 Wh kg−1 from the 10th cycle to the 100th cycle. The first cycle obtained power density (Pd) of 1666.6 W kg−1 and then itdropped to 747.0 W kg−1 at the 50th cycle and continued to drop to 555.5 W kg−1 as the EDLC completed 100 cycles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Electrochemical Energy Storage Devices)
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Article
Fast Detection of 10 Cannabinoids by RP-HPLC-UV Method in Cannabis sativa L.
Molecules 2019, 24(11), 2113; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules24112113 - 04 Jun 2019
Cited by 20
Abstract
Cannabis has regained much attention as a result of updated legislation authorizing many different uses and can be classified on the basis of the content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychotropic substance for which there are legal limitations in many countries. For this purpose, [...] Read more.
Cannabis has regained much attention as a result of updated legislation authorizing many different uses and can be classified on the basis of the content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychotropic substance for which there are legal limitations in many countries. For this purpose, accurate qualitative and quantitative determination is essential. The relationship between THC and cannabidiol (CBD) is also significant as the latter substance is endowed with many specific and non-psychoactive proprieties. For these reasons, it becomes increasingly important and urgent to utilize fast, easy, validated, and harmonized procedures for determination of cannabinoids. The procedure described herein allows rapid determination of 10 cannabinoids from the inflorescences of Cannabis sativa L. by extraction with organic solvents. Separation and subsequent detection are by RP-HPLC-UV. Quantification is performed by an external standard method through the construction of calibration curves using pure standard chromatographic reference compounds. The main cannabinoids dosed (g/100 g) in actual samples were cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), CBD, and Δ9-THC (Sample L11 CBDA 0.88 ± 0.04, CBD 0.48 ± 0.02, Δ9-THC 0.06 ± 0.00; Sample L5 CBDA 0.93 ± 0.06, CBD 0.45 ± 0.03, Δ9-THC 0.06 ± 0.00). The present validated RP-HPLC-UV method allows determination of the main cannabinoids in Cannabis sativa L. inflorescences and appropriate legal classification as hemp or drug-type. Full article
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Article
Temperature-Dependent Evolution of Raman Spectra of Methylammonium Lead Halide Perovskites, CH3NH3PbX3 (X = I, Br)
Molecules 2019, 24(3), 626; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules24030626 - 11 Feb 2019
Cited by 30
Abstract
We present a Raman study on the phase transitions of organic/inorganic hybrid perovskite materials, CH3NH3PbX3 (X = I, Br), which are used as solar cells with high power conversion efficiency. The temperature dependence of the Raman bands of [...] Read more.
We present a Raman study on the phase transitions of organic/inorganic hybrid perovskite materials, CH3NH3PbX3 (X = I, Br), which are used as solar cells with high power conversion efficiency. The temperature dependence of the Raman bands of CH3NH3PbX3 (X = I, Br) was measured in the temperature ranges of 290 to 100 K for CH3NH3PbBr3 and 340 to 110 K for CH3NH3PbI3. Broad ν1 bands at ~326 cm−1 for MAPbBr3 and at ~240 cm−1 for MAPbI3 were assigned to the MA–PbX3 cage vibrations. These bands exhibited anomalous temperature dependence, which was attributable to motional narrowing originating from fast changes between the orientational states of CH3NH3+ in the cage. Phase transitions were characterized by changes in the bandwidths and peak positions of the MA–cage vibration and some bands associated with the NH3+ group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Raman Spectroscopy: A Spectroscopic 'Swiss-Army Knife')
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Article
Is the Fluorine in Molecules Dispersive? Is Molecular Electrostatic Potential a Valid Property to Explore Fluorine-Centered Non-Covalent Interactions?
Molecules 2019, 24(3), 379; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules24030379 - 22 Jan 2019
Cited by 34
Abstract
Can two sites of positive electrostatic potential localized on the outer surfaces of two halogen atoms (and especially fluorine) in different molecular domains attract each other to form a non-covalent engagement? The answer, perhaps counterintuitive, is yes as shown here using the electronic [...] Read more.
Can two sites of positive electrostatic potential localized on the outer surfaces of two halogen atoms (and especially fluorine) in different molecular domains attract each other to form a non-covalent engagement? The answer, perhaps counterintuitive, is yes as shown here using the electronic structures and binding energies of the interactions for a series of 22 binary complexes formed between identical or different atomic domains in similar or related halogen-substituted molecules containing fluorine. These were obtained using various computational approaches, including density functional and ab initio first-principles theories with M06-2X, RHF, MP2 and CCSD(T). The physical chemistry of non-covalent bonding interactions in these complexes was explored using both Quantum Theory of Atoms in Molecules and Symmetry Adapted Perturbation Theories. The surface reactivity of the 17 monomers was examined using the Molecular Electrostatic Surface Potential approach. We have demonstrated inter alia that the dispersion term, the significance of which is not always appreciated, which emerges either from an energy decomposition analysis, or from a correlated calculation, plays a structure-determining role, although other contributions arising from electrostatic, exchange-repulsion and polarization effects are also important. The 0.0010 a.u. isodensity envelope, often used for mapping the electrostatic potential is found to provide incorrect information about the complete nature of the surface reactive sites on some of the isolated monomers, and can lead to a misinterpretation of the results obtained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Computational and Theoretical Chemistry)
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Article
Polymerizable Ionic Liquids for Solid-State Polymer Electrolytes
Molecules 2019, 24(2), 324; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules24020324 - 17 Jan 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Eight new polymerizable ammonium-TFSI ionic liquids were synthesized and characterized with respect to an application in energy storage devices. The ionic liquids feature methacrylate or acrylate termination as polymerizable groups. The preparation was optimized to obtain the precursors and ionic liquids in high [...] Read more.
Eight new polymerizable ammonium-TFSI ionic liquids were synthesized and characterized with respect to an application in energy storage devices. The ionic liquids feature methacrylate or acrylate termination as polymerizable groups. The preparation was optimized to obtain the precursors and ionic liquids in high yield. All products were characterized by NMR and IR spectroscopy. Phase transition temperatures were obtained by DSC analysis. Density, viscosity and ionic conductivity of the ionic liquids were compared and discussed. The results reveal that the length of attached alkyl groups as well as the methyl group at the polymerizable function have significant influences on the ionic liquids physicochemical properties. Ionic conductivity values vary between 0.264 mS cm−1 for [C2NA,22]TFSI and 0.080 mS cm−1 for [C8NMA,22]TFSI at 25 °C. Viscosity values are within a range of 0.762 Pa s for [C2NA,22]TFSI and 1.522 Pa s for [C6NMA,22]TFSI at 25 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ionic Liquids for Electrochemistry)
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Article
Differential Binding of Tetrel-Bonding Bipodal Receptors to Monatomic and Polyatomic Anions
Molecules 2019, 24(2), 227; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules24020227 - 09 Jan 2019
Cited by 20
Abstract
Previous work has demonstrated that a bidentate receptor containing a pair of Sn atoms can engage in very strong interactions with halide ions via tetrel bonds. The question that is addressed here concerns the possibility that a receptor of this type might be [...] Read more.
Previous work has demonstrated that a bidentate receptor containing a pair of Sn atoms can engage in very strong interactions with halide ions via tetrel bonds. The question that is addressed here concerns the possibility that a receptor of this type might be designed that would preferentially bind a polyatomic over a monatomic anion since the former might better span the distance between the two Sn atoms. The binding of Cl was thus compared to that of HCOO, HSO4, and H2PO4 with a wide variety of bidentate receptors. A pair of SnFH2 groups, as strong tetrel-binding agents, were first added to a phenyl ring in ortho, meta, and para arrangements. These same groups were also added in 1,3 and 1,4 positions of an aliphatic cyclohexyl ring. The tetrel-bonding groups were placed at the termini of (-C≡C-)n (n = 1,2) extending arms so as to further separate the two Sn atoms. Finally, the Sn atoms were incorporated directly into an eight-membered ring, rather than as appendages. The ordering of the binding energetics follows the HCO2 > Cl > H2PO4 > HSO4 general pattern, with some variations in selected systems. The tetrel bonding is strong enough that in most cases, it engenders internal deformations within the receptors that allow them to engage in bidentate bonding, even for the monatomic chloride, which mutes any effects of a long Sn···Sn distance within the receptor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue σ and π Holes: A New Class of Non-Covalent Interactions)
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Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Review
Microwave-Assisted Preparation of Luminescent Inorganic Materials: A Fast Route to Light Conversion and Storage Phosphors
Molecules 2021, 26(10), 2882; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26102882 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
Luminescent inorganic materials are used in several technological applications such as light-emitting displays, white LEDs for illumination, bioimaging, and photodynamic therapy. Usually, inorganic phosphors (e.g., complex oxides, silicates) need high temperatures and, in some cases, specific atmospheres to be formed or to obtain [...] Read more.
Luminescent inorganic materials are used in several technological applications such as light-emitting displays, white LEDs for illumination, bioimaging, and photodynamic therapy. Usually, inorganic phosphors (e.g., complex oxides, silicates) need high temperatures and, in some cases, specific atmospheres to be formed or to obtain a homogeneous composition. Low ionic diffusion and high melting points of the precursors lead to long processing times in these solid-state syntheses with a cost in energy consumption when conventional heating methods are applied. Microwave-assisted synthesis relies on selective, volumetric heating attributed to the electromagnetic radiation interaction with the matter. The microwave heating allows for rapid heating rates and small temperature gradients yielding homogeneous, well-formed materials swiftly. Luminescent inorganic materials can benefit significantly from the microwave-assisted synthesis for high homogeneity, diverse morphology, and rapid screening of different compositions. The rapid screening allows for fast material investigation, whereas the benefits of enhanced homogeneity include improvement in the optical properties such as quantum yields and storage capacity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Application of Microwave Technology in Chemistry)
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Review
Current Advances in the Bacterial Toolbox for the Biotechnological Production of Monoterpene-Based Aroma Compounds
Molecules 2021, 26(1), 91; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26010091 - 28 Dec 2020
Abstract
Monoterpenes are plant secondary metabolites, widely used in industrial processes as precursors of important aroma compounds, such as vanillin and (−)-menthol. However, the physicochemical properties of monoterpenes make difficult their conventional conversion into value-added aromas. Biocatalysis, either by using whole cells or enzymes, [...] Read more.
Monoterpenes are plant secondary metabolites, widely used in industrial processes as precursors of important aroma compounds, such as vanillin and (−)-menthol. However, the physicochemical properties of monoterpenes make difficult their conventional conversion into value-added aromas. Biocatalysis, either by using whole cells or enzymes, may overcome such drawbacks in terms of purity of the final product, ecological and economic constraints of the current catalysis processes or extraction from plant material. In particular, the ability of oxidative enzymes (e.g., oxygenases) to modify the monoterpene backbone, with high regio- and stereo-selectivity, is attractive for the production of “natural” aromas for the flavor and fragrances industries. We review the research efforts carried out in the molecular analysis of bacterial monoterpene catabolic pathways and biochemical characterization of the respective key oxidative enzymes, with particular focus on the most relevant precursors, β-pinene, limonene and β-myrcene. The presented overview of the current state of art demonstrates that the specialized enzymatic repertoires of monoterpene-catabolizing bacteria are expanding the toolbox towards the tailored and sustainable biotechnological production of values-added aroma compounds (e.g., isonovalal, α-terpineol, and carvone isomers) whose implementation must be supported by the current advances in systems biology and metabolic engineering approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Featured Reviews on Bioactive Flavour and Fragrance Compounds)
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Review
Ionone Is More than a Violet’s Fragrance: A Review
Molecules 2020, 25(24), 5822; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25245822 - 10 Dec 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
The term ionone is derived from “iona” (Greek for violet) which refers to the violet scent and “ketone” due to its structure. Ionones can either be chemically synthesized or endogenously produced via asymmetric cleavage of β-carotene by β-carotene oxygenase 2 (BCO2). We recently [...] Read more.
The term ionone is derived from “iona” (Greek for violet) which refers to the violet scent and “ketone” due to its structure. Ionones can either be chemically synthesized or endogenously produced via asymmetric cleavage of β-carotene by β-carotene oxygenase 2 (BCO2). We recently proposed a possible metabolic pathway for the conversion of α-and β-pinene into α-and β-ionone. The differences between BCO1 and BCO2 suggest a unique physiological role of BCO2; implying that β-ionone (one of BCO2 products) is involved in a prospective biological function. This review focuses on the effects of ionones and the postulated mechanisms or signaling cascades involved mediating these effects. β-Ionone, whether of an endogenous or exogenous origin possesses a range of pharmacological effects including anticancer, chemopreventive, cancer promoting, melanogenesis, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial actions. β-Ionone mediates these effects via activation of olfactory receptor (OR51E2) and regulation of the activity or expression of cell cycle regulatory proteins, pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic proteins, HMG-CoA reductase and pro-inflammatory mediators. α-Ionone and β-ionone derivatives exhibit anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anticancer effects, however the corresponding structure activity relationships are still inconclusive. Overall, data demonstrates that ionone is a promising scaffold for cancer, inflammation and infectious disease research and thus is more than simply a violet’s fragrance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Featured Reviews on Bioactive Flavour and Fragrance Compounds)
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Review
Insights into the Properties and Potential Applications of Renewable Carbohydrate-Based Ionic Liquids: A Review
Molecules 2020, 25(14), 3285; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25143285 - 20 Jul 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Carbohydrate-derived ionic liquids have been explored as bio-alternatives to conventional ionic liquids for over a decade. Since their discovery, significant progress has been made regarding synthetic methods, understanding their environmental effect, and developing perspectives on their potential applications. This review discusses the relationships [...] Read more.
Carbohydrate-derived ionic liquids have been explored as bio-alternatives to conventional ionic liquids for over a decade. Since their discovery, significant progress has been made regarding synthetic methods, understanding their environmental effect, and developing perspectives on their potential applications. This review discusses the relationships between the structural properties of carbohydrate ionic liquids and their thermal, toxicological, and biodegradability characteristics in terms of guiding future designs of sugar-rich systems for targeted applications. The synthetic strategies related to carbohydrate-based ionic liquids, the most recent relevant advances, and several perspectives for possible applications spanning catalysis, biomedicine, ecology, biomass, and energy conversion are presented herein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ionic Liquids for Materials and Energy)
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Review
The Sensory Significance of Apocarotenoids in Wine: Importance of Carotenoid Cleavage Dioxygenase 1 (CCD1) in the Production of β-Ionone
Molecules 2020, 25(12), 2779; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25122779 - 16 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Olfactory cues are key drivers of our multisensory experiences of food and drink. For example, our perception and enjoyment of the flavour and taste of a wine is primarily steered by its aroma. Making sense of the underlying smells that drive consumer preferences [...] Read more.
Olfactory cues are key drivers of our multisensory experiences of food and drink. For example, our perception and enjoyment of the flavour and taste of a wine is primarily steered by its aroma. Making sense of the underlying smells that drive consumer preferences is integral to product innovation as a vital source of competitive advantage in the marketplace, which explains the intense interest in the olfactory component of flavour and the sensory significance of individual compounds, such as one of the most important apocarotenoids for the bouquet of wine, β-ionone (violet and woody notes). β-Ionone is formed directly from β-carotene as a by-product of the actions of carotenoid cleavage dioxygenases (CCDs). The biological production of CCDs in microbial cell factories is one way that important aroma compounds can be generated on a large scale and with reduced costs, while retaining the ‘natural’ moniker. The CCD family includes the CCD1, CCD2, CCD4, CCD7 and CCD8; however, the functions, co-dependency and interactions of these CCDs remain to be fully elucidated. Here, we review the classification, actions and biotechnology of CCDs, particularly CCD1 and its action on β-carotene to produce the aromatic apocarotenoid β-ionone. Full article
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Review
Stereochemistry of Simple Molecules inside Nanotubes and Fullerenes: Unusual Behavior of Usual Systems
Molecules 2020, 25(10), 2437; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25102437 - 23 May 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
Over the past three decades, carbon nanotubes and fullerenes have become remarkable objects for starting the implementation of new models and technologies in different branches of science. To a great extent, this is defined by the unique electronic and spatial properties of nanocavities [...] Read more.
Over the past three decades, carbon nanotubes and fullerenes have become remarkable objects for starting the implementation of new models and technologies in different branches of science. To a great extent, this is defined by the unique electronic and spatial properties of nanocavities due to the ramified π-electron systems. This provides an opportunity for the formation of endohedral complexes containing non-covalently bonded atoms or molecules inside fullerenes and nanotubes. The guest species are exposed to the force field of the nanocavity, which can be described as a combination of electronic and steric requirements. Its action significantly changes conformational properties of even relatively simple molecules, including ethane and its analogs, as well as compounds with C−O, C−S, B−B, B−O, B−N, N−N, Al−Al, Si−Si and Ge−Ge bonds. Besides that, the cavity of the host molecule dramatically alters the stereochemical characteristics of cyclic and heterocyclic systems, affects the energy of pyramidal nitrogen inversion in amines, changes the relative stability of cis and trans isomers and, in the case of chiral nanotubes, strongly influences the properties of R- and S-enantiomers. The present review aims at primary compilation of such unusual stereochemical effects and initial evaluation of the nature of the force field inside nanotubes and fullerenes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure and Conformational Analysis of Heterocyclic Compounds)
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Review
Recent Advances in Luminescence Imaging of Biological Systems Using Lanthanide(III) Luminescent Complexes
Molecules 2020, 25(9), 2089; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25092089 - 29 Apr 2020
Cited by 11
Abstract
The use of luminescence in biological systems allows one to diagnose diseases and understand cellular processes. Molecular systems, particularly lanthanide(III) complexes, have emerged as an attractive system for application in cellular luminescence imaging due to their long emission lifetimes, high brightness, possibility of [...] Read more.
The use of luminescence in biological systems allows one to diagnose diseases and understand cellular processes. Molecular systems, particularly lanthanide(III) complexes, have emerged as an attractive system for application in cellular luminescence imaging due to their long emission lifetimes, high brightness, possibility of controlling the spectroscopic properties at the molecular level, and tailoring of the ligand structure that adds sensing and therapeutic capabilities. This review aims to provide a background in luminescence imaging and lanthanide spectroscopy and discuss selected examples from the recent literature on lanthanide(III) luminescent complexes in cellular luminescence imaging, published in the period 2016–2020. Finally, the challenges and future directions that are pointing for the development of compounds that are capable of executing multiple functions and the use of light in regions where tissues and cells have low absorption will be discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Luminescent Lanthanide Complexes)
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Review
Palladium-Catalysed Coupling Reactions En Route to Molecular Machines: Sterically Hindered Indenyl and Ferrocenyl Anthracenes and Triptycenes, and Biindenyls
Molecules 2020, 25(8), 1950; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25081950 - 22 Apr 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Pd-catalysed Stille and Suzuki cross-couplings were used to prepare 9-(3-indenyl)-, 6, and 9-(2-indenyl)-anthracene, 7; addition of benzyne led to the 9-Indenyl-triptycenes, 8 and 9. In 6, [4 + 2] addition also occurred to the indenyl substituent. Reaction of 6 through 9 with Cr(CO) [...] Read more.
Pd-catalysed Stille and Suzuki cross-couplings were used to prepare 9-(3-indenyl)-, 6, and 9-(2-indenyl)-anthracene, 7; addition of benzyne led to the 9-Indenyl-triptycenes, 8 and 9. In 6, [4 + 2] addition also occurred to the indenyl substituent. Reaction of 6 through 9 with Cr(CO)6 or Re2(CO)10 gave their M(CO)3 derivatives, where the Cr or Re was complexed to a six- or five-membered ring, respectively. In the 9-(2-indenyl)triptycene complexes, slowed rotation of the paddlewheel on the NMR time-scale was apparent in the η5-Re(CO)3 case and, when the η6-Cr(CO)3 was deprotonated, the resulting haptotropic shift of the metal tripod onto the five-membered ring also blocked paddlewheel rotation, thus functioning as an organometallic molecular brake. Suzuki coupling of ferrocenylboronic acid to mono- or dibromoanthracene yielded the ferrocenyl anthracenes en route to the corresponding triptycenes in which stepwise hindered rotations of the ferrocenyl groups behaved like molecular dials. CuCl2-mediated coupling of methyl- and phenyl-indenes yielded their rac and meso 2,2′-biindenyls; surprisingly, however, the apparently sterically crowded rac 2,2′-Bis(9-triptycyl)biindenyl functioned as a freely rotating set of molecular gears. The predicted high rotation barrier in 9-phenylanthracene was experimentally validated via the Pd-catalysed syntheses of di(3-fluorophenyl)anthracene and 9-(1-naphthyl)-10-phenylanthracene. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cross-Coupling Reactions)
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Review
Iron Catalysts in Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization
Molecules 2020, 25(7), 1648; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25071648 - 03 Apr 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
Catalysts are essential for mediating a controlled polymerization in atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). Copper-based catalysts are widely explored in ATRP and are highly efficient, leading to well-controlled polymerization of a variety of functional monomers. In addition to copper, iron-based complexes offer new [...] Read more.
Catalysts are essential for mediating a controlled polymerization in atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). Copper-based catalysts are widely explored in ATRP and are highly efficient, leading to well-controlled polymerization of a variety of functional monomers. In addition to copper, iron-based complexes offer new opportunities in ATRP catalysis to develop environmentally friendly, less toxic, inexpensive, and abundant catalytic systems. Despite the high efficiency of iron catalysts in controlling polymerization of various monomers including methacrylates and styrene, ATRP of acrylate-based monomers by iron catalysts still remains a challenge. In this paper, we review the fundamentals and recent advances of iron-catalyzed ATRP focusing on development of ligands, catalyst design, and techniques used for iron catalysis in ATRP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Iron Catalysis)
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Review
Flow Chemistry in Contemporary Chemical Sciences: A Real Variety of Its Applications
Molecules 2020, 25(6), 1434; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25061434 - 21 Mar 2020
Cited by 15
Abstract
Flow chemistry is an area of contemporary chemistry exploiting the hydrodynamic conditions of flowing liquids to provide particular environments for chemical reactions. These particular conditions of enhanced and strictly regulated transport of reagents, improved interface contacts, intensification of heat transfer, and safe operation [...] Read more.
Flow chemistry is an area of contemporary chemistry exploiting the hydrodynamic conditions of flowing liquids to provide particular environments for chemical reactions. These particular conditions of enhanced and strictly regulated transport of reagents, improved interface contacts, intensification of heat transfer, and safe operation with hazardous chemicals can be utilized in chemical synthesis, both for mechanization and automation of analytical procedures, and for the investigation of the kinetics of ultrafast reactions. Such methods are developed for more than half a century. In the field of chemical synthesis, they are used mostly in pharmaceutical chemistry for efficient syntheses of small amounts of active substances. In analytical chemistry, flow measuring systems are designed for environmental applications and industrial monitoring, as well as medical and pharmaceutical analysis, providing essential enhancement of the yield of analyses and precision of analytical determinations. The main concept of this review is to show the overlapping of development trends in the design of instrumentation and various ways of the utilization of specificity of chemical operations under flow conditions, especially for synthetic and analytical purposes, with a simultaneous presentation of the still rather limited correspondence between these two main areas of flow chemistry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Flow Analysis)
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Review
Nitro-Perylenediimide: An Emerging Building Block for the Synthesis of Functional Organic Materials
Molecules 2020, 25(6), 1402; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25061402 - 19 Mar 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
Perylenediimide (PDI) is one of the most important classes of dyes and is intensively explored in the field of functional organic materials. The functionalization of this electron-deficient aromatic core is well-known to tune the outstanding optoelectronic properties of PDI derivatives. In this respect, [...] Read more.
Perylenediimide (PDI) is one of the most important classes of dyes and is intensively explored in the field of functional organic materials. The functionalization of this electron-deficient aromatic core is well-known to tune the outstanding optoelectronic properties of PDI derivatives. In this respect, the functionalization has been mostly addressed in bay-positions to halogenated derivatives through nucleophilic substitutions or metal-catalyzed coupling reactions. Being aware of the synthetic difficulties of obtaining the key intermediate 1-bromoPDI, we will present as an alternative in this review the potential of 1-nitroPDI: a powerful building block to access a large variety of PDI-based materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nitro Compounds and Their Derivatives in Organic Synthesis)
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Review
A Review on Applications of Computational Methods in Drug Screening and Design
Molecules 2020, 25(6), 1375; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25061375 - 18 Mar 2020
Cited by 59
Abstract
Drug development is one of the most significant processes in the pharmaceutical industry. Various computational methods have dramatically reduced the time and cost of drug discovery. In this review, we firstly discussed roles of multiscale biomolecular simulations in identifying drug binding sites on [...] Read more.
Drug development is one of the most significant processes in the pharmaceutical industry. Various computational methods have dramatically reduced the time and cost of drug discovery. In this review, we firstly discussed roles of multiscale biomolecular simulations in identifying drug binding sites on the target macromolecule and elucidating drug action mechanisms. Then, virtual screening methods (e.g., molecular docking, pharmacophore modeling, and QSAR) as well as structure- and ligand-based classical/de novo drug design were introduced and discussed. Last, we explored the development of machine learning methods and their applications in aforementioned computational methods to speed up the drug discovery process. Also, several application examples of combining various methods was discussed. A combination of different methods to jointly solve the tough problem at different scales and dimensions will be an inevitable trend in drug screening and design. Full article
Review
On the Use of Iron in Organic Chemistry
Molecules 2020, 25(6), 1349; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25061349 - 16 Mar 2020
Cited by 14
Abstract
Transition metal catalysis in modern organic synthesis has largely focused on noble transition metals like palladium, platinum and ruthenium. The toxicity and low abundance of these metals, however, has led to a rising focus on the development of the more sustainable base metals [...] Read more.
Transition metal catalysis in modern organic synthesis has largely focused on noble transition metals like palladium, platinum and ruthenium. The toxicity and low abundance of these metals, however, has led to a rising focus on the development of the more sustainable base metals like iron, copper and nickel for use in catalysis. Iron is a particularly good candidate for this purpose due to its abundance, wide redox potential range, and the ease with which its properties can be tuned through the exploitation of its multiple oxidation states, electron spin states and redox potential. This is a fact made clear by all life on Earth, where iron is used as a cornerstone in the chemistry of living processes. In this mini review, we report on the general advancements in the field of iron catalysis in organic chemistry covering addition reactions, C-H activation, cross-coupling reactions, cycloadditions, isomerization and redox reactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Iron Catalysis)
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Review
Recent Advances in Encapsulation, Protection, and Oral Delivery of Bioactive Proteins and Peptides using Colloidal Systems
Molecules 2020, 25(5), 1161; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25051161 - 05 Mar 2020
Cited by 23
Abstract
There are many areas in medicine and industry where it would be advantageous to orally deliver bioactive proteins and peptides (BPPs), including ACE inhibitors, antimicrobials, antioxidants, hormones, enzymes, and vaccines. A major challenge in this area is that many BPPs degrade during storage [...] Read more.
There are many areas in medicine and industry where it would be advantageous to orally deliver bioactive proteins and peptides (BPPs), including ACE inhibitors, antimicrobials, antioxidants, hormones, enzymes, and vaccines. A major challenge in this area is that many BPPs degrade during storage of the product or during passage through the human gut, thereby losing their activity. Moreover, many BPPs have undesirable taste profiles (such as bitterness or astringency), which makes them unpleasant to consume. These challenges can often be overcome by encapsulating them within colloidal particles that protect them from any adverse conditions in their environment, but then release them at the desired site-of-action, which may be inside the gut or body. This article begins with a discussion of BPP characteristics and the hurdles involved in their delivery. It then highlights the characteristics of colloidal particles that can be manipulated to create effective BPP-delivery systems, including particle composition, size, and interfacial properties. The factors impacting the functional performance of colloidal delivery systems are then highlighted, including their loading capacity, encapsulation efficiency, protective properties, retention/release properties, and stability. Different kinds of colloidal delivery systems suitable for encapsulation of BPPs are then reviewed, such as microemulsions, emulsions, solid lipid particles, liposomes, and microgels. Finally, some examples of the use of colloidal delivery systems for delivery of specific BPPs are given, including hormones, enzymes, vaccines, antimicrobials, and ACE inhibitors. An emphasis is on the development of food-grade colloidal delivery systems, which could be used in functional or medical food applications. The knowledge presented should facilitate the design of more effective vehicles for the oral delivery of bioactive proteins and peptides. Full article
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Review
Reactive & Efficient: Organic Azides as Cross-Linkers in Material Sciences
Molecules 2020, 25(4), 1009; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25041009 - 24 Feb 2020
Cited by 10
Abstract
The exceptional reactivity of the azide group makes organic azides a highly versatile family of compounds in chemistry and the material sciences. One of the most prominent reactions employing organic azides is the regioselective copper(I)-catalyzed Huisgen 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition with alkynes yielding 1,2,3-triazoles. Other [...] Read more.
The exceptional reactivity of the azide group makes organic azides a highly versatile family of compounds in chemistry and the material sciences. One of the most prominent reactions employing organic azides is the regioselective copper(I)-catalyzed Huisgen 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition with alkynes yielding 1,2,3-triazoles. Other named reactions include the Staudinger reduction, the aza-Wittig reaction, and the Curtius rearrangement. The popularity of organic azides in material sciences is mostly based on their propensity to release nitrogen by thermal activation or photolysis. On the one hand, this scission reaction is accompanied with a considerable output of energy, making them interesting as highly energetic materials. On the other hand, it produces highly reactive nitrenes that show extraordinary efficiency in polymer crosslinking, a process used to alter the physical properties of polymers and to boost efficiencies of polymer-based devices such as membrane fuel cells, organic solar cells (OSCs), light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and organic field-effect transistors (OFETs). Thermosets are also suitable application areas. In most cases, organic azides with multiple azide functions are employed which can either be small molecules or oligo- and polymers. This review focuses on nitrene-based applications of multivalent organic azides in the material and life sciences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Azides 2019)
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Review
C-H Functionalization via Iron-Catalyzed Carbene-Transfer Reactions
Molecules 2020, 25(4), 880; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules25040880 - 17 Feb 2020
Cited by 11
Abstract
The direct C-H functionalization reaction is one of the most efficient strategies by which to introduce new functional groups into small organic molecules. Over time, iron complexes have emerged as versatile catalysts for carbine-transfer reactions with diazoalkanes under mild and sustainable reaction conditions. [...] Read more.
The direct C-H functionalization reaction is one of the most efficient strategies by which to introduce new functional groups into small organic molecules. Over time, iron complexes have emerged as versatile catalysts for carbine-transfer reactions with diazoalkanes under mild and sustainable reaction conditions. In this review, we discuss the advances that have been made using iron catalysts to perform C-H functionalization reactions with diazoalkanes. We give an overview of early examples employing stoichiometric iron carbene complexes and continue with recent advances in the C-H functionalization of C(sp2)-H and C(sp3)-H bonds, concluding with the latest developments in enzymatic C-H functionalization reactions using iron-heme-containing enzymes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Iron Catalysis)
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