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Nature. 2008 Sep 18;455(7211):333-40. doi: 10.1038/nature07371.

Biologically inspired oxidation catalysis.

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Department of Chemistry and Center for Metals in Biocatalysis, University of Minnesota, 207 Pleasant Street SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.


The development of processes for selective hydrocarbon oxidation is a goal that has long been pursued. An additional challenge is to make such processes environmentally friendly, for example by using non-toxic reagents and energy-efficient catalytic methods. Excellent examples are naturally occurring iron- or copper-containing metalloenzymes, and extensive studies have revealed the key chemical principles that underlie their efficacy as catalysts for aerobic oxidations. Important inroads have been made in applying this knowledge to the development of synthetic catalysts that model enzyme function. Such biologically inspired hydrocarbon oxidation catalysts hold great promise for wide-ranging synthetic applications.

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