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Publications (4)27.71 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We introduce a previously unexplored parameter -Halenium Affinity (HalA)- as a quantitative descriptor of the bond strengths of various functional groups to halenium ions. The HalA scale ranks potential halenium ion acceptors based on their ability to stabilize a 'free halenium ion'. Alkenes in particular but other Lewis bases as well, such as amines, amides, carbonyls and ether oxygen atoms, etc. have been classified on the HalA scale. This indirect approach enables a rapid and straightforward prediction of chemoselectivity for systems involved in halofunctionalization reactions that have multiple nucleophilic sites. The influences of subtle electronic and steric variations, as well as the less predictable anchimeric and stereoelectronic effects, are intrinsically accounted for by HalA computations, providing quantitative assessments beyond simple 'chemical intuition'. This combined theoretical-experimental approach offers an expeditious means of predicting and identifying unprecedented reactions.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 08/2014; · 10.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: For cellulosic biofuels processes, suitable characterization of the lignin remaining within the cell wall and correlation of quantified properties of lignin to cell wall polysaccharide enzymatic deconstruction is underrepresented in the literature. This is particularly true for grasses which represent a number of promising bioenergy feedstocks where quantification of grass lignins is particularly problematic due to the high fraction of p-hydroxycinnamates. The main focus of this work is to use grasses with a diverse range of lignin properties, and applying multiple lignin characterization platforms, attempt to correlate the differences in these lignin properties to the susceptibility to alkaline hydrogen peroxide (AHP) pretreatment and subsequent enzymatic deconstruction. We were able to determine that the enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose to to glucose (i.e. digestibility) of four grasses with relatively diverse lignin phenotypes could be correlated to total lignin content and the content of p-hydroxycinnamates, while S/G ratios did not appear to contribute to the enzymatic digestibility or delignification. The lignins of the brown midrib corn stovers tested were significantly more condensed than a typical commercial corn stover and a significant finding was that pretreatment with alkaline hydrogen peroxide increases the fraction of lignins involved in condensed linkages from 88-95% to ~99% for all the corn stovers tested, which is much more than has been reported in the literature for other pretreatments. This indicates significant scission of β-O-4 bonds by pretreatment and/or induction of lignin condensation reactions. The S/G ratios in grasses determined by analytical pyrolysis are significantly lower than values obtained using either thioacidolysis or 2DHSQC NMR due to presumed interference by ferulates. It was found that grass cell wall polysaccharide hydrolysis by cellulolytic enzymes for grasses exhibiting a diversity of lignin structures and compositions could be linked to quantifiable changes in the composition of the cell wall and properties of the lignin including apparent content of the p-hydroxycinnamates while the limitations of S/G estimation in grasses is highlighted.
    Biotechnology for Biofuels 06/2012; 5(1):38. · 5.55 Impact Factor
  • Biotechnology for Biofuels 01/2012; 5:38. · 5.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Good to excellent stereoselectivity has been found in the addition reactions of Grignard and organozinc reagents to N-protected aziridine-2-carboxaldehydes. Specifically, high syn selectivity was obtained with benzyl-protected cis, tert-butyloxycarbonyl-protected trans, and tosyl-protected 2,3-disubstituted aziridine-2-carboxaldehydes. Furthermore, rate and selectivity effects of ring substituents, temperature, solvent, and Lewis acid and base modifiers were studied. The diastereomeric preference of addition is dominated by the substrate aziridines' substitution pattern and especially the electronic character and conformational preferences of the nitrogen protecting groups. To help rationalize the observed stereochemical outcomes, conformational and electronic structural analyses of a series of model systems representing the various substitution patterns have been explored by density functional calculations at the B3LYP/6-31G* level of theory with the SM8 solvation model to account for solvent effects.
    Chemistry 09/2011; 17(44):12326-39. · 5.93 Impact Factor