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  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Shuyao Wu, Chengquan Sui, Chong Wang, Yulu Wang, Dongqing He, Ying Sun, Yu Zhang, Qingbo Meng, Tianyi Ma, Xi-Ming Song
    Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11705-021-2112-4

    High density and uniform distribution of the gold nanoparticles functionalized single-stranded DNA modified reduced graphene oxide nanocomposites were obtained by non-covalent interaction. The positive gold nanoparticles prepared by phase inversion method exhibited good dimensional homogeneity and dispersibility, which could readily combine with single-stranded DNA modified reduced graphene oxide nanocomposites by electrostatic interactions. The modification of single-stranded DNA endowed the reduced graphene oxide with favorable biocompatibility and provided the preferable surface with negative charge for further assembling of gold nanoparticles to obtain gold nanoparticles/single-stranded DNA modified reduced graphene oxide nanocomposites with better conductivity, larger specific surface area, biocompatibility and electrocatalytic characteristics. The as-prepared nanocomposites were applied as substrates for the construction of cholesterol oxidase modified electrode and well realized the direct electron transfer between the enzyme and electrode. The modified gold nanoparticles could further catalyze the products of cholesterol oxidation catalyzed by cholesterol oxidase, which was beneficial to the enzyme-catalyzed reaction. The as-fabricated bioelectrode exhibited excellent electrocatalytic performance for the cholesterol with a linear range of 7.5‒280.5 μmol·L‒1, a low detection limit of 2.1 μmol·L‒1, good stability and reproducibility. Moreover, the electrochemical biosensor showed good selectivity and acceptable accuracy for the detection of cholesterol in human serum samples.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Shan Wang, Xuelian Xu, Ping Xiao, Junjiang Zhu, Xinying Liu
    Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11705-021-2106-2

    The effects of Zr doping on the existence of Cu and the catalytic performance of Ce0.7−xZrxCu0.3O2 for CO oxidation were investigated. The characterization results showed that all samples have a cubic structure, and a small amount of Zr doping facilitates Cu2+ ions entering the CeO2 lattice, but excessive Zr doping leads to the formation of surface CuO crystals again. Thus, the number of oxygen vacancies caused by the Cu2+ entering the lattice (e.g., Cu2+–□–Ce4+; □: oxygen vacancy), and the amount of reducible copper species caused by CuO crystals, varies with the Zr doping. Catalytic CO oxidation tests indicated that the oxygen vacancy and the reducible copper species were the adsorption and activation sites of O2 and CO, respectively, and the cooperative effects between them accounted for the high CO oxidation activity. Thus, the samples x = 0.1 and 0.3, which possessed the most oxygen vacancy or reducible copper species, showed the best activity for CO oxidation, with full CO conversion obtained at 110 °C. The catalyst is also stable and has good resistance to water during the reaction.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Hao-Yu Wang, Chen-Chen Weng, Jin-Tao Ren, Zhong-Yong Yuan
    Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11705-021-2102-6

    In comparison to pure water, seawater is widely accepted as an unlimited resource. The direct seawater splitting is economical and eco-friendly, but the key challenges in seawater, especially the chlorine-related competing reactions at the anode, seriously hamper its practical application. The development of earth-abundant electrocatalysts toward direct seawater splitting has emerged as a promising strategy. Highly efficient electrocatalysts with improved selectivity and stability are of significance in preventing the interference of side reactions and resisting various impurities. This review first discusses the macroscopic understanding of direct seawater electrolysis and then focuses on the strategies for rational design of electrocatalysts toward direct seawater splitting. The perspectives of improved electrocatalysts to solve emerging challenges and further development of direct seawater splitting are also provided.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Weihang Sun, Dongfang Liu, Minghui Zhang
    Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11705-021-2108-0

    The dye industry produces a large amount of hazardous wastewater every day worldwide, which brings potential threaten to the global environment. As an excellent method for removal of water chroma and chemical oxygen demand, electrocatalytic methods are currently widely used in the treatment of dye wastewater. The selection and preparation of electrode materials and electrocatalysts play an important role on the electrocatalytic treatment. The aim of this paper is to introduce the most excellent high-efficiency electrode materials and electrocatalysts in the field of dye wastewater treatment. Many electrode materials such as metal electrode materials, boron-doped diamond anode materials and three-dimensional electrode are introduced in detail. Besides, the mechanism of electrocatalytic oxidation is summarized. The composite treatment of active electrode and electrocatalyst are extensively examined. Finally, the progress of photo-assisted electrocatalytic methods of dye wastewater and the catalysts are described.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Huan Wang, Guo Du, Jiaqing Jia, Shaohua Chen, Zhipeng Su, Rui Chen, Tiehong Chen
    Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11705-021-2090-6

    Hierarchically porous zeolites are promising candidates in catalytic conversion of relatively bulky molecules, and their syntheses have attracted significant attention. From both industrial and scientific perspectives, different carbon materials have been widely employed as hard templates for the preparation of hierarchically porous zeolites during the past two decades. In this review, the progress in synthetic strategies using carbon materials as templates is comprehensively summarized. Depending on the affinity between the carbon templates and zeolite precursors, the substantial strategies for synthesizing hierarchical zeolites are introduced in direct templates and indirect templates. Direct templates methods, by which the carbon materials are directly mixed with precursors gel as hard templates, are first reviewed. Then, we discuss the indirect templates method (crystallization of carbon-silica composites), by which the carbon is produced by in situ pyrolysis of organic-inorganic precursors. In addition, the technique of encapsulating metal species into zeolites crystals with the assistance of carbon templates is also discussed. In the conclusion part, the factors affecting the synthesis of carbon-templated hierarchically porous zeolites are remarked. This review is expected to attract interest in the synthesis strategies of hierarchically porous zeolites, especially cost-effective and large-scale production methodologies, which are essential to the industrial application of hierarchical zeolites.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Rui-Qi Zhang, Ang Ma, Xiang Liang, Li-Min Zhao, Hui Zhao, Zhong-Yong Yuan
    Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11705-021-2104-4

    The low cost and highly efficient construction of electrocatalysts has attracted significant attention owing to the use of clean and sustainable energy technologies. In this work, cobalt nanoparticle decorated N-doped carbons (Co@NC) are synthesized by the pyrolysis of a cobalt covalent organic framework under an inert atmosphere. The Co@NC demonstrates improved electrocatalytic capabilities compared to N-doped carbon without the addition of Co nanoparticles, indicating the important role of cobalt. The well-dispersed active sites (Co-Nx) and the synergistic effect between the carbon matrix and Co nanoparticles greatly enhance the electrocatalytic activity for the oxygen reduction reaction. In addition, the Co content has a significant effect on the catalytic activity. The resulting Co@NC-0.86 exhibits a superb electrocatalytic activity for the oxygen reduction reaction in an alkaline electrolyte in terms of the onset potential (0.90 V), half-wave potential (0.80 V) and the limiting current density (4.84 mA·cm–2), and a high selectivity, as well as a strong methanol tolerance and superior durability, these results are comparable to those of the Pt/C catalyst. Furthermore, the superior bifunctional activity of Co@NC-0.86 was also confirmed in a home-built Zn-air battery, signifying the possibility for application in electrode materials and in current energy conversion and storage devices.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Giuseppe Sanzone, Jinlong Yin, Hailin Sun
    Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11705-021-2101-7

    Many research works have demonstrated that the combination of atomically precise cluster deposition and theoretical calculations is able to address fundamental aspects of size-effects, cluster-support interactions, and reaction mechanisms of cluster materials. Although the wet chemistry method has been widely used to synthesize nanoparticles, the gas-phase synthesis and size-selected strategy was the only method to prepare supported metal clusters with precise numbers of atoms for a long time. However, the low throughput of the physical synthesis method has severely constrained its wider adoption for catalysis applications. In this review, we introduce the latest progress on three types of cluster source which have the most promising potential for scale-up, including sputtering gas aggregation source, pulsed microplasma cluster source, and matrix assembly cluster source. While the sputtering gas aggregation source is leading ahead with a production rate of ~20 mg·h–1, the pulsed microplasma source has the smallest physical dimensions which makes it possible to compact multiple such devices into a small volume for multiplied production rate. The matrix assembly source has the shortest development history, but already show an impressive deposition rate of ~10 mg·h–1. At the end of the review, the possible routes for further throughput scale-up are envisaged.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Jiaxi Lin, Zhen Yao, Xiaomei Lyu, Lidan Ye, Hongwei Yu
    Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11705-021-2088-0

    Conflict between cell growth and product accumulation is frequently encountered in the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites. To address the growth-production conflict in yeast strains harboring the isoprene synthetic pathway in the mitochondria, the dynamic control of isoprene biosynthesis was explored. A dual temperature regulation system was developed through engineering and expression regulation of the transcriptional activator Gal4p. A cold-sensitive mutant, Gal4ep19, was created by directed evolution of Gal4p based on an internally developed growth-based high-throughput screening method and expressed under the heat-shock promoter PSSA4 to control the expression of PGAL-driven pathway genes in the mitochondria. Compared to the control strain with constitutively expressed wild-type Gal4p, the dual temperature regulation strategy led to 34.5% and 72% improvements in cell growth and isoprene production, respectively. This study reports the creation of the first cold-sensitive variants of Gal4p by directed evolution and provides a dual temperature control system for yeast engineering that may also be conducive to the biosynthesis of other high-value natural products.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Huaxin Qu, Jie Deng, Bei Wang, Lezi Ouyang, Yong Tang, Kai Yu, Lan-Lan Lou, Shuangxi Liu
    Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11705-021-2092-4

    A base-free catalytic system for the aerobic oxidation of 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furfural was exploited by using Pt nanoparticles immobilized onto a thermoresponsive poly(acrylamide-co-acrylonitrile)-b-poly(N-vinylimidazole) block copolymer, with an upper critical solution temperature of about 45 °C. The Pt nanocatalysts were well-dispersed and highly active for the base-free oxidation of 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furfural by molecular oxygen in water, affording high yields of 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (up to>99.9%). The imidazole groups in the block copolymer were conducive to the improvement of catalytic performance. Moreover, the catalysts could be easily separated and recovered based on their thermosensitivity by cooling the reaction system below the upper critical solution temperature. Good stability and reusability were observed over these copolymer-immobilized catalysts with no obvious decrease in catalytic activity in the five consecutive cycles.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Xiang-Hui Yu, Jin-Long Yi, Ru-Liang Zhang, Feng-Yun Wang, Lei Liu
    Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11705-021-2097-z

    Hollow carbon spheres have garnered great interest owing to their high surface area, large surface-to-volume ratio and reduced transmission lengths. Herein, we overview hollow carbon sphere-based materials and their noble metal-free hybrids in catalysis. Firstly, we summarize the key fabrication techniques for various kinds of hollow carbon spheres, with a particular emphasis on controlling pore structure and surface morphology, and then heterogeneous doping as well as their metal-free/containing hybrids are presented; next, possible applications for non-noble metal/hollow carbon sphere hybrids in the area of energy-related catalysis, including oxygen reduction reaction, hydrogen evolution reaction, oxygen evolution reaction, water splitting, rechargeable Zn-air batteries and pollutant degradation are discussed; finally, we introduce the various challenges and opportunities offered by hollow carbon spheres from the perspective of synthesis and catalysis.