ChemSusChem: Chemistry & Sustainability, Energy & Materials vol:8 pages:345-352
The oxidative decarboxylation of amino acids to nitriles was achieved in aqueous solution by in situ halide oxidation using catalytic amounts of tungstate exchanged on a [Ni,Al] layered double hydroxide (LDH), NH4Br, and H2O2 as the terminal oxidant. Both halide oxidation and oxidative decarboxylation were facilitated by proximity effects between the reactants and the LDH catalyst. A wide range of amino acids was converted with high yields, often >90 %. The nitrile selectivity was excellent, and the system is compatible with amide, alcohol, and in particular carboxylic acid, amine, and guanidine functional groups after appropriate neutralization. This heterogeneous catalytic system was applied successfully to convert a protein-rich byproduct from the starch industry into useful bio-based N-containing chemicals.