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Photocatalysis to crop protection: asymmetric cascades for chiral heterocycles


Food security and sustainable agriculture is a significant and current challenge to society in the face of growing global consumption. PHOTOCHIRO seeks to provide some solutions through assisting the development of more effective crop protection technology. Specifically, we aim at the synthesis of novel chiral amines, which are common motifs in biologically active molecules, by using light-driven organocatalytic cascade processes. Asymmetric organocatalysis and photochemistry, two powerful strategies of modern chemical research, have extraordinary potential for sustainably preparing the novel organic molecules required for driving innovation in the pharmaceutical and agrichemical industries. However, the control of enantioselectivity in photochemical processes poses a fundamental scientific challenge, and PHOTOCHIRO asks whether asymmetric organocatalytic photochemical cascades can be used as an effective tool for the rapid synthesis of novel chiral pyrrolidine and piperidine building blocks. The chiral molecules prepared in this project will be screened for herbicide, insecticide, and fungicide activity in a multidisciplinary collaboration with Syngenta.
This fellowship brings a new collaboration to the host institution, transfers knowledge of advanced techniques in asymmetric catalysis and photochemistry to the candidate, and, in addition, knowledge of these new enantioselective photocatalytic synthetic techniques to the industrial partner. The results have the potential to increase the economic competitiveness of Europe through Knowledge and Technology Transfer and are in line with one of H2020 Societal Challenges to secure "viable food production in face of a growing world food demand". The multi-cultural and intersectoral nature of this project will broaden Dr Holden’s competencies and places her in a competitive position for her next career move.

Field of science

  • /social sciences/economics and business/economics/sustainable economy
  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/physical chemistry/photochemistry
  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/organic chemistry/amines
  • /engineering and technology/other engineering and technologies/food and beverages/food safety
  • /agricultural sciences/agriculture, forestry, and fisheries/agriculture/sustainable agriculture

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF


Avenida Paissos Catalans 16
43007 Tarragona
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 170 121,60