Research articles

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  • Biological CO2 fixation in cells is subject to natural limitations. Now a cell-free system with a cycle that is oxygen-insensitive and self-replenishing has been developed, allowing the conversion of CO2 into several C3 and C4 products in vitro with a steady-state CO2 fixation rate of 0.55 mM h−1.

    • Shanshan Luo
    • Paul P. Lin
    • James C. Liao
    Article Open Access
  • Metal–metal oxide inverse catalysts are an intriguing class of materials, although the understanding of their structure–activity properties remains elusive. Here, Vlachos and colleagues unravel the complex dynamic interplay between Brønsted acid and redox sites at the surface of a PtWOx/C inverse catalyst, offering a strategy to tune its acid-catalysed dehydration reactivity.

    • Jiayi Fu
    • Shizhong Liu
    • Dionisios G. Vlachos
    Article
  • Enantioselective C–C bond-forming reactions are underdeveloped in the biocatalysis toolbox. Now, engineering an efficient and promiscuous decarboxylative aldolase enzyme provides a solution to facilitate the convenient synthesis of non-standard γ-hydroxy amino acids from simple building blocks.

    • Jonathan M. Ellis
    • Meghan E. Campbell
    • Andrew R. Buller
    Article
  • How terpene cyclases catalyse deprotonation–reprotonation sequences during their complex reactions has remained obscure. Now it is shown that selinadiene synthase uses the carbonyl group of a glycine residue and an active-site water molecule to mediate this process.

    • Yong-Heng Wang
    • Houchao Xu
    • Jeroen S. Dickschat
    Article
  • Polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolysis is more efficient than its alkaline counterpart, but its implementation, in part, hinges on developing Earth-abundant catalysts that are active and stable for the oxygen evolution reaction in acid. Now, it is shown that incorporating Mn into Co3O4 substantially extends the catalyst lifetime in acidic electrolyte while maintaining the activity.

    • Ailong Li
    • Shuang Kong
    • Ryuhei Nakamura
    Article
  • The CO2-mediated oxidative dehydrogenation of propane is an attractive reaction for propylene production, although the selection of competent catalysts available for this process is scant. Now, the authors report a ceria-supported Pt–Co–In ternary alloy that achieves this transformation with high efficiency.

    • Feilong Xing
    • Yuki Nakaya
    • Shinya Furukawa
    Article
  • The encapsulation of supported metal nanoparticles by a thin oxide support overlayer under reducing conditions is commonly referred to as a strong metal–support interaction. Now, by controlling the composition of the reducing agents at the catalyst activation stage, an adsorbate-induced strong metal–support interaction is reported for the commercial Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 catalyst during methanol steam reforming.

    • Didi Li
    • Fang Xu
    • Minghui Zhu
    Article
  • The conversion of methane to oxygenated molecules is a very challenging reaction that often requires the use of a coreductant or stoichiometric conditions. Here, the authors report the use of gold supported on ZSM-5 as a promising catalyst for this process in combination with oxygen in the absence of coreductants.

    • Guodong Qi
    • Thomas E. Davies
    • Graham J. Hutchings
    Article
  • Nitriles can be hydrogenated with a variety of precious metal catalysts, yet there is a lack of heterogeneous systems based on affordable metals such as iron. Here, the authors report a silica-supported Fe/Fe–O core–shell catalyst with the ability to hydrogenate nitriles in the presence of aluminium additives.

    • Vishwas G. Chandrashekhar
    • Thirusangumurugan Senthamarai
    • Matthias Beller
    Article Open Access
  • Surface treatments can tune catalysts’ wettability, which can be used to promote their catalytic performance. Now, a potential-dependent dynamic wetting behaviour of cobalt-based oxide catalysts is identified before and during the oxygen evolution reaction.

    • Tzu-Hsien Shen
    • Liam Spillane
    • Vasiliki Tileli
    Article Open Access
  • The Suzuki–Miyaura cross-coupling (SMC) usually involves a base-mediated transmetalation, which is problematic for substrates with base-sensitive moieties. To tackle this issue, a Lewis acid-mediated SMC reaction is reported allowing high yields for very base-sensitive systems.

    • Takashi Niwa
    • Yuta Uetake
    • Takamitsu Hosoya
    Article Open Access
  • The heterogeneity of industrial particulate catalysts is a major obstacle in the study of their deactivation mechanisms. Here, the authors introduce a droplet microreactor capable of sorting fluid catalytic cracking equilibrium catalyst particles in a high-throughput fashion based on their activity.

    • Anne-Eva Nieuwelink
    • Jeroen C. Vollenbroek
    • Bert M. Weckhuysen
    Article
  • Layered double hydroxides of transition metals are known to be highly active for water oxidation, but the nature of their active sites and reaction mechanism are still elusive. Now, a monolayer NiCo hydroxide catalyst, in situ prepared on the working electrode, is reported to exhibit valence oscillation and dynamic generation of active sites during water oxidation.

    • Jianxin Kang
    • Xiaoyi Qiu
    • Lin Guo
    Article