Office of Research, UC Riverside
Jinyong Liu
Assistant Professor
Chemical/Environ. Engineering
jinyongl@ucr.edu
(951) 827-1481


SusChEM: Collaborative Research: Cobalt-catalyzed Defluorination of Branched Perfluorinated Compounds

AWARD NUMBER
009156-002
FUND NUMBER
33366
STATUS
Active
AWARD TYPE
3-Grant
AWARD EXECUTION DATE
7/10/2017
BEGIN DATE
9/1/2017
END DATE
8/31/2020
AWARD AMOUNT
$325,000

Sponsor Information

SPONSOR AWARD NUMBER
1709719
SPONSOR
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
SPONSOR TYPE
Federal
FUNCTION
Organized Research
PROGRAM NAME

Proposal Information

PROPOSAL NUMBER
17040585
PROPOSAL TYPE
New
ACTIVITY TYPE
Basic Research

PI Information

PI
Liu, Jinyong
PI TITLE
Other
PI DEPTARTMENT
Chemical/Environ. Engineering
PI COLLEGE/SCHOOL
Bourns College of Engineering
CO PIs
Volz, David;

Project Information

ABSTRACT

This award is funded by the Environmental Chemical Sciences (ECS) Program in the Division of Chemistry. It is a collaboration between Professors Jinyong Liu and David Volz at the University of California, Riverside, and Prof. Yujie Men at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Together with their graduate students they study perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). PFCs are a family of chemicals that have the same carbon backbone as hydrocarbons but all atoms attached to the carbon backbone are fluorine instead of hydrogen. Carbon-fluorine (C-F) bonds are highly stable. Surfaces modified with PFCs are resistant to both water and oil. Thus, PFCs are widely used in fire-fighting foams, electronics, lubricants, outdoor apparel and equipment, and on-sticking cooking ware. The stability of C-F bonds makes PFCs also very difficult to degrade in the natural environment. Synthetic PFCs have been globally detected in the environment and living organisms. Bioaccumulation of PFCs has been connected to a variety of human health problems. However, current technologies are not effective in PFC degradation via breaking the C-F bonds (i.e., defluorination). Therefore, it is desired to develop both new PFCs that can be degraded more easily and new strategies for removing these compounds from the environment. This research investigates the structure-activity relationships, reaction mechanisms, and products of cobalt-catalyzed removal of fluorine from of PFCs in abiotic and microbial environments. Outcomes may contribute to solving PFC pollution challenges by providing fundamental guidelines to the design of novel degradable PFCs and microbial remediation in natural environments.

This research employs a multi-faceted approach combining chemical and biological tools to investigate cobalt (Co)-catalyzed defluorination of PFCs. The team investigates the product of PFC defluorination after Co-catalyzed reactions. The structure-activity relationship between the Co coordination sphere in chemically and biologically synthesized complexes and the defluorination activity is investigated. The redox environment enabling abiotic and microbial defluorination reactions is determined. Three PhD students receive interdisciplinary training. Undergraduate and high school researchers from a diverse student population are exposed to interdisciplinary training, specifically topics related of sustainability. The broad community is reached via a public-oriented science conference and other events. Results may be applied to biomimetic catalyst system design, synthesis of novel fluoro-pharmaceuticals, and toxicology evaluation of novel fluorochemicals. Outcomes of this project have broad impacts on transforming industrial fluorochemical design. Research efforts are coupled with educational and outreach plans designed to broaden participation from underrepresented minorities in Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Chemical / Environmental Engineering.
(Abstract from NSF)