News & Views

Filter By:

Article Type
  • Of the few known catalytic RNAs in biology, all but the ribosome involve reactions with phosphodiester bonds. Now, a ribozyme that catalyses a completely different reaction was discovered in all three domains of life.

    • Ulrich F. Müller
    News & Views
  • Harnessing a clean, affordable and inexhaustible source of energy is an immense scientific challenge. Scientists moved a step closer in 1972 when the first practical device for direct solar power-to-fuel conversion was reported.

    • Elizabeth A. Gibson
    News & Views
  • The Haber–Bosch process was introduced at the beginning of the twentieth century; however, its mechanism remained controversial for many years. Thus, a comprehensive mechanistic picture was provided in the eighties.

    • Jianping Guo
    • Ping Chen
    News & Views
  • To produce chemicals and fuels from CO2 and water while storing excess energy from renewable resources will play a big role in sustainability. Three decades ago, we learned that copper possesses the unique ability to break the stable CO2 bonds and to form C–C bonds, a key step towards higher-value products.

    • Raffaella Buonsanti
    News & Views
  • More than 35 years ago, telomerase activity was discovered by Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Carol W. Greider. Today, this enzyme is a promising approach to curing some age-related diseases as well as cancer, but it took time for telomerase to be in the spotlight.

    • Paula Martinez
    • Maria A. Blasco
    News & Views
  • Methods for the direct one-step replacement of a hydrogen atom in a C–H bond by an organic functional group can create enormous possibilities for synthetic applications. On the way to solve this challenge, the discovery of the reaction of organopalladium complexes with olefins opened a new era in catalysis and organic chemistry.

    • Valentine P. Ananikov
    News & Views
  • The ability to control the subtle differences in reaction mechanisms and outcomes is an aspiration of many synthetic chemists. Now protein evolution has enabled the control of selectivity for hydroamination reactions catalysed by gold-based artificial metalloenzymes by favouring dual-gold catalysis over monomeric catalysis.

    • Amanda G. Jarvis
    News & Views
  • Computational studies have previously explored the effect of cations and hypothesized their vital role in electrocatalysis. Now, experimental evidence shows that without a cation, CO2 reduction simply does not take place.

    • Leanne D. Chen
    News & Views
  • Thermocatalytic hydrogenation is used industrially to produce ethylene at a reasonable purity, but at the cost of expensive catalysts, moderate selectivity, and potentially dangerous process conditions. Now, an electrochemical approach based on copper-based electrodes is suggested as a viable sustainable alternative.

    • Christian Durante
    News & Views
  • Electric current is now shown to induce movement of the atoms in electrocatalyst nanoparticles, leading to morphological changes and performance degradation. This electromigration effect needs to be taken into account when designing nanostructured catalysts for electrochemical devices.

    • Pekka Peljo
    • Tanja Kallio
    News & Views
  • Catalysts respond to reactive atmospheres, leading to intrinsically distinct active sites and reaction pathways in response to pressure changes. The degree of pressure gap depends on the nanostructure. Now, the gaps and discrepancies in in-situ and operando studies of CO2-to-CH3OH using CuZn catalysts have been rationalized.

    • Atsushi Urakawa
    News & Views
  • Polyamines are a growing class of medically and agriculturally active biomolecules that have traditionally been difficult to source. Now, a bio-based platform for high-level production of diverse polyamines has been realized, showing the versatility of biocatalysis and the utility of conceptualizing metabolism as distinct modules.

    • Kevin B. Reed
    • Hal S. Alper
    News & Views
  • The design of an original molecular architecture featuring an unusual sterically congested C(sp2)–C(sp3) stereogenic axis with six high rotational barriers results in the formation of six stereoisomers. The configuration of this axis can be controlled by transition metal catalysis and one stereoisomer can be produced selectively.

    • Damien Bonne
    • Jean Rodriguez
    News & Views
  • Creating enzymes with new capabilities is a key goal for synthetic biology and sustainable chemistry. Now, computational approaches have been used to quickly achieve leaps in enzyme function, providing a versatile platform for biocatalytic hydroamination.

    • Christopher K. Prier
    News & Views
  • The challenge in synthesizing hydrogen peroxide from O2 and H2O is to balance several concurrent reactions. Now, selective H2O2 production is achieved on a noble-metal-free photocatalyst based on carbon-nitride-supported antimony single atoms.

    • Michael Volokh
    • Menny Shalom
    News & Views
  • Tuning the selectivity of CO2 electrohydrogenation to value-added products poses a challenge in CO2 mitigation and electrified chemical manufacturing. Now, a strategy to design and synthesize CO2 reduction electrocatalysts highly selective to either CO or CH4 for proton-conducting ceramic electrochemical cells is presented.

    • Chuancheng Duan
    News & Views
  • Highly active, selective and stable catalysts for the hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol are immensely sought after. Now, using a broad range of spectroscopic methods, in-plane double sulfur vacancies of MoS2 sheets have been suggested to catalyse this reaction using an unusual mechanism.

    • Felix Studt
    News & Views
  • Extensive research efforts have been devoted to development of catalytic oxidation manifolds based on molecular oxygen. Now, an unconventional approach for oxygenation of organic sulfides by this abundant oxidant is introduced by merging nickel catalysis with electrochemistry.

    • Andrey Shatskiy
    • Jian-Quan Liu
    • Markus D. Kärkäs
    News & Views
  • Synthetic metabolic pathways that circumvent photorespiration can improve crop growth. Now, an efficient photorespiration bypass with a new-to-nature carboxylation step has been engineered and demonstrated in vitro.

    • Markus Janasch
    • Elton P. Hudson
    News & Views
  • RetroBioCat provides automated solutions for biocatalytic cascade design. The curated open-access tool, developed by researchers in biocatalysis, has the potential to greatly facilitate enzymatic retrosynthesis to target molecules.

    • Dörte Rother
    • Stephan Malzacher
    News & Views