NChem Research Highlights: Natural products, light-harvesting and water-splitting

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Just to keep you on your toes, Research Highlights are coming to you on a Tuesday this week. So read on for your chemistry fix!

Steve loves total synthesis, and he got to write about TWO approaches to a pretty hot natural product. Platencin shows activity against MRSA and has been tackled a few times recently, but these approaches are effecient and rapid.

Next up, some porphyrins are linked together directly, rather than with spacers, and that gives cyclic arrays with better light-harvesting potential.

And last, but laughably by no means least…you might have noticed a vast amount of press coverage about Dan Nocera and Matthew Kanan’s water-splitting Co catalyst. We couldn’t really not cover it! I was fortunate enough to hear Dan’s talk about it at ICCC38 and speak to him afterwards. For those wondering if this really will be the next big thing, he said an Arab oil sheik is going to use the technology in 50,000 houses in a new town…gulp.

You can see a video about the breakthrough made by Chemical Explorers, or the man himself at MIT Tech TV.

And finally…a wine-tasting sensor has got a lot of coverage this week, but I think I’d rather take the risk and do the tasting myself! Meanwhile, apparently there’s a little sporting event happening over in China. Seeing as chemists most often get bad press at the Olympics thanks to drug cheats, here’s a slightly more positive angle: Oxford chemistry graduate Jen Goldsack is competing in the double sculls for the US. Any other Olympian chemists out there??


Neil Withers (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)