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The ACS Green Chemistry Institute® is pleased to announce the opening of the 2018 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. The U.S. EPA supports the continuation of the awards program for 2018 under the sponsorship of the ACS GCI. To ensure continuity, the awards categories and guidelines are remaining the same, only the timing of the awards cycle is changing, and the ACS GCI will be managing the awards program and making final decisions about award winners.


As in past years, an independent scientific panel convened by ACS GCI will be making recommendations for the award winners, with the final decisions for each award category chosen by members of the ACS GCI Advisory Board.


Estimated Timeline:

  • Submissions accepted from April 30, 2018 through July 2, 2018
  • Award winners notified no later than August 31, 2018
  • Awards ceremony to be held in Washington, D.C. on October 2018


The award guidelines and nomination package will be posted on the ACS GCI website by April 30, 2018, and these will follow the same guidelines as in previous years. Interested parties are encouraged to begin the process for submission as soon as possible.


If you have any questions, please email

Contributed by Paul D. Thornton, Development Scientist, GreenCentre Canada, and Laura M. Reyes, Career Development Leader, Chemical Institute of Canada


We have organized a full-day session at this year’s GC&E conference called "Accelerating Development of Sustainable Products and Processes Through Start-Ups and SMEs," which will bring together entrepreneurs from various sectors and stages of company growth to share their stories, focusing on successes and turning points, expected and unexpected challenges, and lessons learned along the way. We will also hear about existing resources that can be creatively leveraged for maximum impact toward a growing company’s commercialization goals. While there is no easy roadmap for a green chemistry start-up to follow, there are valuable lessons to be learned from these shared experiences, and it is our hope that this session will help enable entrepreneurship in green chemistry and the resulting market adoption of innovative products and processes.


This session, which will take place all day on Wednesday, June 20, will greatly benefit anyone who is involved in, or interested in, start-ups and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) based in green chemistry. All conference delegates are highly encouraged to attend and join us in learning different perspectives of what is needed to bring a green product or process to market.


We will feature presentations from nine entrepreneurs and company founders, from fields as diverse as waste recycling, to safer consumer products, to naturally sourced ingredients. The talks will include two keynote speakers. In the morning, Lauren Zarama, the CEO of InKemia Green Chemicals, will discuss her company’s approach to innovating and commercializing greener and safer chemistry solutions. In the afternoon, Richard Blackburn, the co-founder and director of Keracol and a professor at the University of Leeds, will discuss commercializing natural products for use in the cosmetics industry and how he balances academia and entrepreneurship. The other companies featured are: framergy, Grow Bioplastics, Newreka Green Synth Technologies, RAPID Manufacturing USA Institute, remooble, and Sironix Renewables.


Following the start-up presentations, we will shift focus towards available resources, including the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council’s Green & Bio-Based Chemistry Startup Network, and considerations to keep in mind when turning a technology into a business. A series of short talks will cover the importance of market focus (by Diatomix), the most critical intellectual property tips (by Finnegan LLP), and the due diligence process behind investing in new ventures (by Chemical Angel Network). An interactive discussion will close off the day, highlighting the technical and business needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses in green chemistry, and what resources are available to address those gaps. We look forward to continuing these lively conversations shortly after our session at the GC&E’s Green Chemistry on Tap social!

The ACS Green Chemistry Institute® receives input from a variety of stakeholders and last week the GCI Advisory Board met in Washington, DC. Chaired by ACS Past President and former Chair of the Board Bill Carroll, the Advisory Board includes Concepción Jiménez-González, GlaxoSmithKline; Lauren Heine, Northwest Green Chemistry; Audrey Moores, McGill University; Michael Kirschner, Design Chain Associates, LLC; and Tony Noce, Tetra Tech and Chair of the ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement.


Advisory Board members provided guidance to GCI staff on a number of topics, including the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, the International Year of the Periodic Table, and the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.  The Advisory Board discussed the recent GAO report on "Chemical Innovation: Technologies to Make Processes and Products More Sustainable" and received updates on federal policy related to green chemistry, collaborations between the green chemistry and safety communities, and progress on the environmental genome project.


The Advisory Board also received an update and provided feedback on the 2018 Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, the premier venue for sharing expertise across the green chemistry and engineering community. We are thrilled to be returning to Portland, Oregon on June 18-20 for the 22nd Annual Conference with a theme of “Product Innovation Using Greener Chemistries”. In addition to 30 technical symposia, this year’s conference will feature several interactive sessions along with a product showcase demonstrating green chemistry and engineering applications in the marketplace. The early-bird deadline of April 30 is fast approaching and I encourage you to register at to take advantage of the best conference rate.


At last month’s ACS National Meeting in New Orleans, GCI recognized the ACS Student Chapters that are sharing their green chemistry expertise on their campuses and within their local communities. A total of 56 Student Chapters were honored for their green chemistry activities during the Student Chapters Awards Ceremony on Sunday, March 18. Approximately 1,000 students and their faculty advisors celebrated the accomplishments of all of the Student Chapters during this high-energy ceremony.


The ACS National Meeting also provided a venue to reflect upon advances in green chemistry since the principles of green chemistry were introduced by Paul Anastas and John Warner 20 years ago. Speakers in the “State-of-the-Art:  Two Decades Advancing the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry” session highlighted products and processes that address each of the principles, as well as opportunities to further promote the integration of green chemistry across the chemistry enterprise.


As we approach Earth Day, it is important to continue sharing our expertise with colleagues, students, family, and friends. Chemistry in service to humanity is a powerful message that reflects our commitment to protecting human health and the environment through the implementation of green and sustainable chemistry and engineering.



Organized by Jennifer Y. Tanir, M. Barclay Satterfield, Robert Giraud, George Cobb, and David Constable (members of ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement)


We cordially invite conference attendees to participate in an interactive, 1-day workshop, "Charting the Course to Sustainable Chemistry in the Supply Chain," on Wednesday, June 20. The goal of the workshop is to evaluate successes of integrating green/sustainable chemistry into the supply chain in the formulated personal care and household products sector and distill the learnings into a plan for widespread adoption.


One of the barriers to the ubiquitous implementation of sustainable chemistry is strong integration and acceptance throughout the supply chain. Despite many individual single-product or single-company successes, or a few advances in limited sectors’ supply chains, there is still a need for widespread agreement on sustainability goals and cooperation throughout the supply chain.


The interactive workshop will be divided in to three sessions: (1) Lessons Learned; (2) Gaps, Challenges, and Needs; and (3) Facilitated Discussion and Roadmapping, with the goal of developing a plan (and ultimately a publication) to improve incorporation of sustainable chemistry in the supply chain for formulated products. The first two sessions are panel discussions with subsequent breakout discussions for the audience to contribute their ideas to key questions. In the final session, the facilitated discussion and roadmapping aims to articulate the vision for success and identify the 4 or 5 major milestones or key recommendations to move the sector from the current status to goal status.


We are holding this workshop at the 2018 GC&E Conference in order to bring together diverse thinking: technical experts in the formulated personal care and household products with other sectors, learnings from other sectors that can be applied, new ways of thinking, and students who can develop future solutions. Conference attendees are encouraged to participate as an audience, in the breakout discussions, and in developing the plan forward through the roadmapping discussion.

The symposium "Chemistry in Water – Following Nature’s Lead" honors the winners of the 2018 Peter J. Dunn award by the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable: Prof. Sachin Handa, University of Louisville, and Prof. Bruce Lipshutz, University of California, Santa Barbara. The Symposium features the latest developments in new synthetic chemistry from both academic and industrial labs that document not only that waste creation can be minimized, but that by going green, “faster, better, cheaper” processes oftentimes can be anticipated.


Prof. Sachin Handa’s award lecture "Non-Traditional Approaches to Chemical Catalysis to Sustainably Achieve Selective Reaction Pathways" will focus on issues with reproducibility, purity and selectivity arising at the multi-gram scale. In addressing these issues, Prof. Handa’s group has sought to develop catalysts, reagents and reaction media which are cheap, sustainable, easily recyclable, safer to use and yet also markedly improve reaction outcomes in terms of activity, selectivity and scalability.


Prof. Bruce Lipshutz’s award lecture "Synthetic Organic Chemistry in Water, Environmentally Responsible and Sustainable" will focus on the recent (unpublished) development of new palladacycles that are matched to both a ligand and their use in micellar catalysis, thereby enabling Suzuki-Miyaura (SM) cross-couplings at 300 ppm levels of Pd. A new ligand platform will also be discussed that can be prepared in only two steps, and that also can be applied to ppm level Pd-catalyzed SM reactions in water under mild conditions.


Dr. Wilfried Braje, Senior Principle Scientist at AbbVie, will give his presentation "Organic Chemistry in Water: Applications in the Pharmaceutical Industry" that will disclose applications of micellar catalysis for the most important reaction types performed in the pharmaceutical industry (e.g., transition-metal-catalyzed reactions such as Buchwald-Hartwig aminations, Suzuki, and Negishi couplings). In addition, a new additive will be disclosed for the first time. This additive enables chemical reactions to proceed in water with unprecedented short reaction times.


Dr. Fabrice Gallou, Principle Fellow at Novartis, will present a talk entitled "Alternative Solvents: From a Compliance-Driven Activity to a Trigger for Innovation" focusing on the application of the surfactant technology developed by professors Lipshutz and Handa. The team at Novartis has identified a variety of straightforward and highly advantageous transformations and their applications on-scale. Implementation of the technology typically resulted in significant benefits across their entire portfolio, not just from an environmental standpoint but also from an economic and productivity perspective (e.g., reduction in organic solvent consumption, water use and cycle time, milder reaction conditions, and improved yields and selectivities, which all contribute to improved process performance and lower manufacturing costs).


The Symposium will be held at the Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Portland on Monday, June 18, 2018, from 9:45 a.m. to 12:25 p.m.

This Monday afternoon session will highlight industry innovations based on green chemistry and engineering principles, focusing on the development and design process. Case studies will be presented to illustrate how companies in different sectors have successfully implemented green chemistry and engineering principles into their processes. These examples will describe the design and development process, the challenges faced, and how these barriers were overcome. Additionally, this session will discuss the important collaborations along the value chain and with the academic community.


From the session, attendees should be able to understand at a high level how industry develops products and processes, and the many factors that contribute to the launch and commercialization of new greener technologies.  Presenters will be from industry and academia in order to share the valuable insights of a diverse group on the challenges and opportunities in bringing sustainable chemistries and processes to market.


Symposium organizer:

Ettigounder (Samy) Ponnusamy, Ph.D.

Fellow & Global Manager, Green Chemistry



Presentations include:


  • Finding nature-inspired alternatives to PFASs in durable water repellency (DWR): an academic/industry approach. T. McKeag
  • "Greener solutions" and "PFCs of environmental concern". B.J. Henry
  • Development of an eco-friendly biotransformation protocol for valorization of food industry waste for commercial application in consumer products. N. Mexia, M. Benohoud, C.M. Rayner, R.S. Blackburn
  • Sustainable dyeing of cotton: Graft-polymerization of AOETMAC to achieve ultra-deep black shades without salt or alkali. M. Abed, S. Salim, S. Mandal, A. El Shafei
  • Assessment of modernized chromatographic methods for a greener tomorrow from a global perspective. M.B. Hicks, L. Lehmann, W.P. Farrell, C.M. Aurigemma, J. Xu, R. Dermenjian
  • Green chemistry innovation in chemiluminescent conjugate manufacturing processes. J. Grote
  • Green chemistry impacts on environmental media. S.D. Gaona, A. Lew
  • Sustainability at an enterprise level: Focusing greening of the value chain. H. Plugge
  • Single-step co-synthesis of methanol, dimethyl ether and dimethyl carbonate from biomass-derived syngas. P. Sripada, A. Parihar, S. Bhattacharya
  • Cl2-free production of ethylene dichloride and propylene oxide. J. Hauck, M. Leclerc
  • Recycling metal swarf by extraction of cutting oils with supercritical CO2. R. Schlake, A. Kaziunas

Effective and inherently safer chemical products and processes are the obvious choice over their hazardous counterparts. The market appears to agree, with one forecasting analysis predicting that alternative chemical products, i.e., those made with inherently safer and more sustainable ingredients, will experience a 19.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2016 and 2026 (BCC Research).


While many chemists are inspired to use their skills to improve health, safety and environmental impacts, a gap remains between innovation and implementation. Work on basic and/or applied research challenges is very different from bringing products to the marketplace. And products don’t simply have to be safer; they also have to perform as well as or better than existing products, in terms of both cost and functionality. There are also societal, political, and educational hurdles to overcome.


In our session, "Real-World Sustainability Challenges: Incentives and Barriers to the Use of Green Chemistry in Products," our speakers and panelists will explore this divide as well as best practices for successfully bridging the gap. We’re thrilled to have four outstanding session chairs: Dr. Lauren Heine, Northwest Green Chemistry (NGC)’s Executive Director; Dr. Amelia Nestler, NGC’s Project Manager; Anthony (Tony) Noce, Vice President, EHS Management Systems at Tetra Tech; and Ray Garant, Director of Public Policy at the American Chemical Society.


The diverse drivers for the adoption of green chemistry in products are not necessarily in alignment. Our session speakers will explore how creative initiatives supportive of safer products, like environmentally preferable procurement policies and start-up support,  often contrast with uncompromising obstacles such as lack of funding, limited market awareness or outdated standards and regulations.


Our line-up of expert speakers will cover these, and many more, drivers and barriers in depth and from first-hand practical experience:


To support scientists in fulfilling the promise of green chemistry to provide practical, sustainable solutions in the marketplace, they will discuss:

  • How to shepherd a great idea into a real and successful product
  • Resources that are available to designers at different stages in development
  • Common pitfalls and best practices for overcoming them
  • Sources of inspiration for solving real-world sustainability problems
  • Systems models and metrics for success


Join the conversation with product developers, regulators, investors, and procurement professionals to advance your innovative ideas and bring safe, sustainable products to the market. We look forward to hearing about your green chemistry product development experiences at the 22nd Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference!

The Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering at Yale is collaborating with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on a three-year project to increase the general global awareness and capacities on deployable green chemistry in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.


This project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is part of the Yale-UNIDO Global Green Chemistry Initiative and was developed in response to the increasing variety and complexity of chemicals and the need to make the products safer and their manufacturing processes less polluting.


The Initiative consists of series of workshops in six countries where green chemistry experts deliver a one-day green chemistry awareness workshop, followed by a five-day training workshop developed for participants from industry, academia, non-profits and government. All workshops provide hands-on tools and materials to assist with the design of products and processes that advance global sustainability. In addition to the workshops—taking place in Brazil, Serbia, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Egypt and South Africa—the Center is also developing a university curriculum for students to teach green chemistry to undergraduates as early as their freshman year. This work is done in collaboration with Beyond Benign and will include lecture materials, laboratory exercises, and videos that are developed by students around the world.


“We are thrilled to be leading this project and to be working with the local and international green chemistry communities to develop the most effective way to disseminate green chemistry materials to countries around the world. So far the feedback we received has been fantastic and the workshops have been very well received by participating countries. We are eager to do more.” said Karolina Mellor, Ph.D., one of the Yale-UNIDO project managers.


“Thanks to UNIDO and GEF generosity, and the wonderful support from students, faculty and our local partners, we are able to do work that has the potential to impact countries’ sustainable development,” added Dr. Mellor.


As the project develops, the Yale-UNIDO Global Green Chemistry Initiative plans to engage the green chemistry community to develop a comprehensive compendium of green chemistry and green engineering technologies that include the broad array of innovations that are commercially available today. The document will provide a comprehensive collection of green technologies within developed and transitioning countries.


The Yale-UNIDO Initiative will be highlighted by Professor Paul Anastas, Ph.D., at the 2018 Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Portland, Oregon at the session “Providing guidance for a wide distribution and implementation of green chemistry to developing countries and economies in transition,” where student videos will be shown and our strategy of community engagement will be outlined.



Awareness Raising Workshop in Belgrade, Serbia

Contributed by Jennifer MacKellar, Program Manager, ACS Green Chemistry Institute


Over the years, there have been many efforts to provide green chemistry resources and support for chemistry educators. We are pleased to announce another outstanding resource developed through a collaborative effort of chemistry educators: a green chemistry supplement to the ACS Guidelines for Bachelor’s Degree Programs. The development of the Green Chemistry in the Curriculum supplement was led by the ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement with the support of many educators in the green chemistry community. This is just one more example of the incredible passion and commitment the green chemistry community demonstrates for enabling the adoption of green chemistry principles and practices in chemistry education.


The premise of the supplement is one that many of us in the green chemistry community already stand behind wholeheartedly, that in order for chemists to play a central role in addressing the grand challenges of sustainability, the integration of green chemistry principles and systems thinking is needed throughout the traditional chemistry subdisciplines. The Green Chemistry in the Curriculum supplement provides the context for why green and sustainable chemistry is critical for the next generation of chemists and provides some guidance for approaching chemistry education from a context-rich or systems thinking perspective.  Continuing on, the supplement articulates some illustrative examples of green chemistry for each of the foundational chemistry courses: General Chemistry, Organic, Inorganic, Analytical, Physical and Biochemistry. While this is not an exhaustive list by any means, it is intended to demonstrate how green chemistry concepts are relevant to all areas of chemistry and could, ideally, be scaffolded across the curriculum.


The ACS Guidelines for Bachelor Degree programs provide standards that define excellent and rigorous programs for undergraduate chemistry education. There are over 680 approved chemistry programs. The ACS Committee on Professional Training is in charge of this approval procedure. In addition to the guidelines, the Committee publishes supplements that provide advice to institutions that wish to develop specific aspects of their chemistry program.


The green chemistry supplement was approved by the Committee on Professional Training during the ACS National Meeting in New Orleans. When this news emerged at the meeting, the initial reception among educators was enthusiastic. We hope that you will also value this resource and share it with colleagues.


Successfully integrating green chemistry throughout the chemistry curriculum is a long-term strategic goal of ACS GCI. We will continue to support efforts to this end through our work on a Green Chemistry Education Roadmap, as well as by collaborating with key stakeholders such as Beyond Benign and the IUPAC Systems Thinking in Chemistry Education. Together we can make a difference!


We are currently in the process of plans to expand on the information in the supplement to give even more resources and guidance. We’d love to hear from you. How are you bringing green chemistry into your courses? What resources would be helpful?


Finally, I would like to give a quick shout-out to the amazing line-up of green chemistry enthusiasts who made this supplement possible. Without your wisdom, experience, and perseverance, we would not be where we are today.


Thank you!


Tony Noce  ·  Kate Aubrecht  ·  Marie Bourgeois  ·  Ed Brush  ·  Jane Wissinger  ·  Cathy Middlecamp  ·  Julie Haack  ·  Alan Elzerman  ·  Jim Hutchison  ·  David Constable  ·  Dave Finster  ·  Irv Levy  ·  Amy Cannon  ·  Tom Holme

Contributed by Karolina Mellor, Ph.D., Program Manager, Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale University


Yale Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering recently developed an educational computer game which introduces the concepts of sustainability, chemistry and rational design to undergraduate students using a virtual environment. Safer Chemical Design Game intended for incorporation into any chemistry course for majors or non-majors that teaches sustainability and/or the Principles of Green Chemistry. The game is free of charge and encourages students to think like professional chemical designers and to develop a chemical product with respect to function and improved human and environmental health.


Student’s skills in communication and critical thinking can be increased substantially by integrating practical and hands-on experiences into their curriculum. In addition, the use of practical experiences, as well as the bridging of disciplines through projects, can positively influence interest in science and knowledge retention. Integrating these findings into existing lesson plans promotes the development of more integrative courses and allows students to make more connections between the scientific topics of study and the problems that they face in daily life.


The Safer Chemical Design Game designed to introduce students to safer chemical design concepts and is focused on the manipulation of physicochemical parameters in order to minimize the undesired biological and environmental interactions of a hypothetical commercial chemical. The game scenarios presented to the student (player) model the decision-making process used by professionals to design a new chemical. Critically, the computer game simulates the real-world constraints that may affect chemical product development. The challenge is for the students to design a safer and more sustainable chemical product using multi-criteria decision analysis. Players can select different combinations of molecular parameters that lead to qualitative outputs related to toxicity, biodegradability, biotransformation and overall performance. In doing so, the player must navigate potential trade-offs that are consequences of their choices. Feedback after each task allows players to redesign the chemical product to improve the design.


Game Objectives

  • Produce a scientifically accurate game that provides students an opportunity to solve problems as though they are practicing professionals.
  • Engage and entertain students through a captivating storyline and the relevance to real-world issues (i.e. sustainability).
  • Teach sustainable design principals and life cycle thinking.
  • Educate students about toxicity, biodegradability, and overall performance of a hypothetic chemical product.
  • Incorporate systems thinking and interdisciplinary content at the nexus of chemistry, toxicology, and environmental science.


The Safer Chemical Design Game is live and can be accessed at → Safer Chemical Design Game.

Applied Separations is a small business based in Allentown, Pennsylvania that has supported greener approaches to chemistry for years. The company manufactures supercritical fluid systems, offers DNA-free laboratory sample preparation consumables and a new CO2 flash chromatography machine.


Prime_three controllers.jpgLed by CEO and founder Rolf Schlake, they developed the Spe-edTM Prime for use in educational settings and for many years now has offered an opportunity for institutions of higher learning to apply for an educational grant. The winner of the award receives a Spe-edTM SFE Prime Package, which includes a Supercritical Fluid System and vessel designed specifically for the higher education market as well as supporting Classroom Materials, such as a syllabus, handouts, suggested applications and more. The award is presented by Schlake at the Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, which will be held this year June 18-20, 2018 in Portland, Oregon.


The deadline for applications for the 2018 Educational Grant is April 30, 2018. Among other considerations, proposals should illustrate how the machine will be used to teach supercritical fluids in the college classroom, with an emphasis on green chemistry and environmentally friendly processes. Learn more about how to apply.


Supercritical Fluids as Supporting Research into the Origins of Life

One of the past winners of this award is Professor Michael Gaylor of Dakota State University who has seen the Prime system positively influence his teaching, research and even recruitment of new chemistry students. “Engaging in supercritical fluids teaching and research mentoring introduces students to a sophisticated field of chemical study that substantially expands their theoretical and experimental skill sets,” says Professor Gaylor. “I’ve seen this pay big dividends for my students heading into industry labs and graduate programs by giving them an advantage over the competition.”


One of Professor Gaylor’s research areas is investigating the high-pressure origins of life. The Prime system has enabled him to simulate deep-sea hydrothermal vent conditions for investigating mineral-catalyzed chemical reactions relevant to the origins of life. “We’re increasingly focused on understanding how simpler geochemicals and the myriad of organic compounds delivered to Earth via meteorites during the Late Heavy Bombardment period of Earth’s early history might have assembled to form the more complex molecules of life under high-pressure conditions, such as those found in hydrothermal vent systems and in deep underground environments.”


Gaylor’s lab also develops supercritical fluids methods for a number other research areas:

  • Extracting/characterizing beneficial and pollutant chemicals associated with South Dakota’s alternative energy and deep underground research efforts
  • Extracting/characterizing anthropogenic chemicals in environmental samples, (e.g. land-applied sewage sludge biosolids)
  • Assessing the phytochemical inventories of ornamental plant nectars in relation to their capacity to uptake pollutants from indoor air,
  • Estimating pollutant bioavailability to soil organisms
  • Extracting/purifying bioactive natural product compounds


Supercritical Fluids in an Analytical Chemistry Class: An example

Another past winner of this award is Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Trinity B.S. degree’s in chemistry and biochemistry and encourages student research throughout their college career.

“The acquisition of the Spe-edTM SFE Prime supercritical fluid extraction apparatus has provided our students with the opportunity to explore the fundamental properties of supercritical fluids at the lab bench and to experience firsthand the benefits offered by this important “green” sample preparation technology,” says Professor Janet Morrison.


Prof. Morrison goes on to describe in detail how she was able to successfully incorporate teaching supercritical fluids as a way to get students thinking about greener processes in the lab and in industrial applications. She writes:


“Analytical Chemistry (Chem 311) is a required course for all of our majors and is one of the most challenging classes in the department in terms of both lecture and laboratory demands.  In one of the experiments currently performed in this course, students use gas chromatography and the internal standard calibration method to determine the fatty acid composition of a variety of food products, such as potato chips and other snack foods typically consumed by college students. The classical procedure involves isolation of the fat from the food using methylene chloride, followed by saponification, transesterification to fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) using BF3-methanol, back extraction into methylene chloride, concentration of the extract, and, finally, quantitative analysis by GC.  This conventional sample preparation method is cumbersome and messy, involving several transfers of material and the use of multiple flasks, and is typically the most time-consuming portion of the experiment for the students.


“With the addition of the Spe-edTM SFE Prime instrument, students have compared the classical procedure with a streamlined SFE procedure by extracting the fat from the food samples using SF-CO2 as a “green” solvent-less alternative to the methylene chloride approach. The students compare the conventional method with SFE in terms of solvent usage, extraction time, recovery efficiency, and analysis cost on a per sample basis considering the cost of solvents (purchase and disposal) and time.  This side-by-side comparison of the conventional solvent-based method with the SFE method complements and reinforces our lecture discussion of the benefits of supercritical fluids for extraction. The incorporation of SFE into the laboratory portion of the course thus converts what previously was a theoretical lecture discussion into a valuable educational hands-on experience with this alternative sample preparation technology.


“A culminating part of the lab experience in Analytical Chemistry involves student groups proposing independent projects for which they then design and carry out the experiments and analyze, interpret, and present the results.  One group chose to further investigate the applicability of SFE for the isolation and subsequent analysis of fatty acids from commercial foods by not only extracting with SF-CO2, but also performing a single flask simultaneous collection and derivatization by bubbling the SF-CO2 effluent directly into BF3-methanol in the collection tube.  The collection tube was subsequently heated to facilitate transesterification and the resulting FAMEs were isolated into a small volume of hexane added to the collection tube.


“Because the SFE extraction vessel can be weighed before and after SFE (if extracted to a final constant mass), students can additionally get an estimate of the total fat content of food samples, and we have had students estimate the fat content in chocolate using SFE. To expose more surface area, prior to SFE the chocolate samples are freeze-fractured using a small volume of liquid nitrogen, and then crushed into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle.  More advanced concepts can be studied by having the students generate extraction profiles to optimize extraction time and explore extraction kinetics.”


There are many possibilities for using supercritical fluids in your lab! Don’t miss the chance to submit an application for this Educational Grant by April 30, 2018.



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