"Organohalides can be transformed into safer compounds by breaking the bonds between the halogen and carbon atoms they contain," says David P. Goldberg, associate professor for the Department of Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University.
"Though this work represents a step forward, there is still an enormous amount of work to be done, including finding what metals work best under what conditions."
In the biological world, enzymes catalyze cell function.Many enzymes have a metal molecule held inside a specially built structure; these types of molecules are called porphyrins.Using them as a model, Goldberg's
team synthesized a molecular variation, thereby changing the properties of the reactive metal in the center of the molecule.
says these molecules are fascinating from a fundamental perspective -- the change made in their structure gives them different properties than the system found in nature.This may allow scientists to use these catalysts in ways different from their natural counterparts.
"Organohalides comprise a high percentage of the priority pollutants as registered by the EPA
, so this is a pretty important advance," Goldberg