Chemical workhorses

Chemists in the US have devised what might be referred to as an environmentally friendly way to make substituted aromatic molecules that can be customized for different industrial needs. Shannon Stahl of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and colleagues have a new palladium dehydrogenation catalyst incorporating an unconventional ortho-dimethylaminopyridine ligand and demonstrated to work well on substituted cyclohexanones to produce phenolic compounds. Aromatics are important building blocks for pharmaceuticals and other products although optimization for industrial use is now required if the new palladium catalyst is to shine.