Hydrothermal reaction of tryptophan over Ni-based bimetallic catalysts

Yang Guo, Zhifeng Chen, Robert M. Rioux, Phillip E. Savage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The major products from hydrothermal reactions of tryptophan at 350 and 400 °C in the absence of catalyst were indole and methyl indoles, indicating simultaneous deoxygenation and deamination. In the presence of carbon-supported Ni and NiM catalysts (M = Ru, Cu, Pd, Pt) primary aromatic amines also appeared, via cleavage of the heterocyclic ring of the indoles. Ni and NiCu catalysts have the lowest selectivity for the formation of this family of compounds, while NiRu had the highest selectivity. Catalysts containing noble metals also produced monosubstituted alkylaromatics, due to the deamination of the aromatic amines, with the NiPt catalyst providing the highest molar yield (∼7%). We propose catalytic and non-catalytic hydrothermal reaction pathways for tryptophan based on the observed product distributions. The bimetallic particles were smaller than the pure Ni particles and the surfaces of NiRu and NiPd particles were enriched in Ni, relative to the nominal bulk composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-345
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Supercritical Fluids
StatePublished - Jan 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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