Accumulation of chloroaromatics in the environment is a result of their slow biotransformation to non-damaging and/or more hiodegradable chemicals.
This research project will be focused on the oxidation of chlorinated phenols by biomimetic catalysts. The group of Dr Meunier has recently reported the efficient oxidative degradation of polychlorinated phenols by H2O2, which is catalysed by Amberlite-supported iron and manganese complexes of 2,9,16,23-tetrasulfophthalocyanine (FePcS and MnPcs) (1). The FePcS-Amberlite-H2O2 system might have a future in the oxidative removal of pollutants from aqueous effluents, since both amberlite resins and hydrogen peroxide are acceptable chemicals in water treatment. I will try to answer the following questions during my PhD work: Is it possible to get a deep degradation of 2,4,6-tlichlorophenol (TCP), up to carbon dioxide and Cl- ions?
Can we used the FePcS-Amberlite-H202 system to other aromatic substrates, or in general to non-easily oxidized molecules (i.e. potential pollutants)?
What is the detailed mechanism of this catalytic oxidation system? Are high-valent Fe=O entities involved or Fe-OOH species?
Is the resin damaged during the catalytic oxidation process? What is the rate-determining step of the catalytic cycle?
The group of Dr Meunier has a strong collaboration with the ELF Company for several years, so this work will be developed in collaboration with this european company.
(1) A. Sorokin, B. Meunier, J. Chem. Soc., Chem. Commun., 1994, 1799-1800.