Researchers at the University of York have recently revealed the way in which nitrogen containing molecules (amines) react with certain plant-based ingredients, and how this changes according to the experimental conditions. Working in the Horizon 2020-BBI JU funded CHAMPION project, the purpose of this research is to discover new materials to replace the unsustainable plastic ingredients in household and industrial products.
Our new understanding of the reactivity of natural ingredients allows us to make renewable polymers and modify their properties to make them suitable for specialty applications. We can now modify reaction pathways to enhance the efficiency of our processes, and optimise them to use molecules that were previously thought of as unreactive. It is hoped these findings will increase the number and diversity of materials that can be developed in the CHAMPION project, and make it feasible to produce them economically on a large scale ready for commercialisation.
The published open access study, "An experimental investigation into the kinetics and mechanism of the aza-Michael additions of dimethyl itaconate", can be found in Tetrahedron.