Flow chemistry

Flow chemistry is the development and study of chemical reactions whereby reactants are combined by pumping fluids, including solutions of reagents, through tubes at known rates. The relative proportions of the reactants are controlled by their concentrations and relative flow rates. These reactions can take advantage of rapid mixing and surface to volume ratio effects.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    An automated synthesis instrument comprising a series of continuous flow modules that are radially arranged around a central switching station can achieve both linear and convergent syntheses.

    • Sourav Chatterjee
    • , Mara Guidi
    • , Peter H. Seeberger
    •  & Kerry Gilmore
    Nature 579, 379-384
  • Research |

    Tackling the loss of expensive cofactors is a key challenge in continuous-flow biocatalysis. This work reports immobilized enzymes with a tethered cofactor that is channelled between a recycling and a catalysis module facilitating total turnover numbers of NAD+ and ATP exceeding 10,000 in biocatalytic flow systems.

    • Carol J. Hartley
    • , Charlotte C. Williams
    • , Judith A. Scoble
    • , Quentin I. Churches
    • , Andrea North
    • , Nigel G. French
    • , Tom Nebl
    • , Greg Coia
    • , Andrew C. Warden
    • , Greg Simpson
    • , Andrew R. Frazer
    • , Chantel Nixon Jensen
    • , Nicholas J. Turner
    •  & Colin Scott
    Nature Catalysis 2, 1006-1015
  • Research
    | Open Access

    Alcohol oxidation to carbonyl compounds is a very useful functional group transformation in organic synthesis. Here, the authors perform the direct electrochemical oxidation of various alcohols to the corresponding ketones in a continuous-flow reactor without external oxidants, base or mediators.

    • Dan Wang
    • , Pan Wang
    • , Shengchun Wang
    • , Yi-Hung Chen
    • , Heng Zhang
    •  & Aiwen Lei
  • Reviews |

    3D printing is becoming a mainstream technology with considerable increase in access to affordable desktop printers. However, specific design principles and material considerations need to be weighed when printing functional devices that integrate catalytic and/or analytical functionalities, as well as when printing common laboratory hardware.

    • Andrew J. Capel
    • , Rowan P. Rimington
    • , Mark P. Lewis
    •  & Steven D. R. Christie
  • Research
    | Open Access

    Flow-based peptide synthesis is a well-established method, yet difficult to combine with native chemical ligation (NCL), the go-to method for peptide cyclization. Here, the authors developed a microfluidic procedure for peptide cyclization within minutes, using NCL and an SEA alkylthioester peptide.

    • Nathalie Ollivier
    • , Thomas Toupy
    • , Ruben C. Hartkoorn
    • , Rémi Desmet
    • , Jean-Christophe M. Monbaliu
    •  & Oleg Melnyk

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Fusion systems have been designed that link enzymes to cofactors and immobilization modules through appropriate synthetic spacers. These modular biocatalysts (assembling catalysis, cofactor provision/regeneration and assisted immobilization) are suited to heterogeneous biocatalysis systems and can be efficiently used in continuous flow reactors.

    • Martina Letizia Contente
    •  & Francesco Molinari
    Nature Catalysis 2, 951-952
  • Research Highlights |

    A rapid synthesis of the antibacterial drug linezolid using flow chemistry has been reported that does not require isolation or purification of any intermediates and is completed in seven synthetic steps

    • Stephen G. Davey
  • News and Views |

    Flow chemistry has grown in stature as a technique with the potential to deliver synthetic complexity with assembly-line-like efficiency. Application of flow technology to the front-line antimalarial drug artemisinin promises to revolutionalize treatment.

    • Kevin Booker-Milburn
    Nature Chemistry 4, 433-435