Exploring New Methodology in the Biosciences by Way of New Technology

Date of Completion

January 2010


Chemistry, Organic




With the aid of microwave heating, researchers have often been able to shorten reaction times and achieve better product yields in a wide range of chemical reactions. Microwave heating has also entered into the bioscience field. With this have come reports of reaction rates and selectivities different to those when using conventional heating. There is debate in the literature as to the origins of these effects. The objective of the first part of this thesis has been to address this important question. ^ In both lipase-catalyzed esterifications and tryptic digests, no observable differences were found between conventional and microwave heating. In order to exacerbate any potential effects, highly microwave-absorbing supports have also been used for immobilizing enzymes. While issues arose with effective and reliable loading of the biomolecules onto these supports, the preliminary data obtained suggest that, even when using these highly microwave absorbing materials, there is no significant difference between microwave and conventional heating. ^ In the latter chapters of this thesis, two emerging areas are discussed. Firstly, the iChemExplorer, an automated HPLC accessory for temperature and stir control, has been used for studying a lipase-catalyzed reaction and tryptic digests and was found to facilitate rapid optimization of reaction parameters. Secondly, biodiesel has been prepared using microwave heating. The reaction was first optimized on the small scale and then scaled up. ^