Water is the solvent of choice in terms of greenness and sustainability. However, it can be difficult to isolate very polar products from water. Here, we discuss the use of n -butanol as a solvent to extract polar compounds from aqueous solution. n -Butanol produces high yields and can also be sourced sustainably from biomass, which makes it attractive from a climate perspective. The reason for its high efficiency is that the wet n-butanol phase is a nanomaterial that incorporates little pockets of water that can stabilize the polar solute. Thus, the environment remains very water-like, and the presence of hydrophobic groups can tip the transfer reaction towards the n -butanol phase. We also discuss a simple estimate whether n -butanol will be an efficient extraction solvent for the compound of interest based on common public databases. This should help to guide practicing organic chemists during the solvent selection process.
|Journal||European Journal of Organic Chemistry|
|Early online date||7 Oct 2021|
|Publication status||Published - 14 Dec 2021|
- chemical processes
- extraction solvent selection
- wet n-butanol
- enzymatic reactions