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A catalytic reaction that uses oxygen to help eliminate undesirable forms of alcohol -- a new technique they hope will become an inexpensive way to manufacture medicines has been developed by USA-based University of Utah chemists. The new method is among the first in which oxygen has been used by a catalyst in a reaction capable of making medicinal compounds. In the study, Sigman and colleagues tested 10 different catalysts that were nitrogen-based compounds containing the metallic element palladium to find palladium II sparteine capable of using molecules of oxygen to 'oxidise' certain forms of alcohol to substances called ketones.
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