Nobel Prize in (Green) Chemistry


According to most of the Nobel Prize coverage this past week, the pictured scientists share the 2005 Nobel Prize in chemistry, "for their work to reduce hazardous waste in forming new chemicals: specifically the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis...". That's the kind of sound byte you get when people with "communication degrees" cover science. Much more than "hazardous waste reduction" makes it interesting. Metathesis, which was originally a term of linguistics, uses special catalysts that can lower energy inputs per unit of chemical production. The method also facilitates the use of plant oils as feedstock. For example, with the help of Mr. Grubbs, another researcher has designed and tested olefin-metathesis-based routes to producing various pheromones. Materia, the "catalysts for change company", which distributes the needed catalysts for metathesis techniques, registered with the Environmental Protection Agency three insect pheromones: (E)-5-decenyl acetate, a pheromone of peach twig borer (Anarsia lineatella); a mixture of (E)- and (Z)-11-tetradecenyl acetate, of omnivorous leafroller (Platynota stultana); and a different mixture of (E)- and (Z)-11-tetradecenyl acetate, of Sparganothis fruit worm, a pest of cranberries and blueberries.Materia also field tested a mosquito oviposition pheromone. Female mosquitoes of the genus Culex release this compound when they lay eggs to attract other pregnant females to the site. The goal is to explore whether the pheromone may help combat the spread of West Nile virus.

Here's the important item not covered. Looking at those three guys we have to suspect at least one of them is a TreeHugger. Who gets your vote?

Gotta love that "catalysts for change company" slogan too. More TreeHuggers?

Let's recap some of the possible green attributes:
less hazardous waste produced per unit of manufacturing, overall.
fewer energy inputs per unit of production
allows renewable feedstock (plant oils) to be used for non-toxic bioactive products that could replace toxic ones.

That's X4 improvement.

TreeHugging chemists: your corrections, remarks, and extensions are welcome of course.