Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Laurel A. Morton

Department Affiliation



The ever growing need for a viable renewable fuel source has led to this thesis project; the biomimetic lignin degradation by means of a homogeneous oxidative catalyst in corresponding ionic liquids. Lignin comprises nearly a third of lignocellulosic biomass and is cross-linked to both cellulose and hemicellulose. Current utilization methods of lignin do not generate the full value of the polymer, because they do not yield many of the valuable feed stock chemicals it is comprised of. To improve the value of the biomass as a whole and create a viable economy for the US's transition to biofuels, better utilization methods need to be developed. To this end, we have developed ionic liquid tagged metalloporphyrin catalysts and coupled them in ionic liquids that are known to dissolve lignin in an attempt to more efficiently isolate the feedstock chemicals contained within lignin. Synthesis of four ionic liquid tagged metalloporphyrin catalysts has been completed with moderate yields. The array of catalysts has been synthesized, as the functionalization of the metalloporphyrin is known to have a great effect on its catalytic abilities. Recently groups have shown a significant increase in the reusability of the ionic catalysts when coupled with ionic liquids, helping a major hurdle in the biomimetic process. We have performed initial catalytic studies with two of our novel ionic metalloporphyrins and compared their activity with a non-ionic metalloporphyrin. Under similar conditions in 1-allyl-3-methylimidazolium xylenesulphonate our novel catalysts outperformed the comparative non-ionic porphyrin catalyst significantly.

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Chemistry Commons