Banning toxic heavy-metal catalysts from paints: Enzymatic cross-linking of alkyd resins Journal Article

Author(s): Greimel, Katrin J; Perz, Veronika; Koren, Klaus; Feola, Roland; Temel, Armin; Sohar, Christian; Herrero Acero, Enrique; Klimant, Ingo; Guebitz, Georg M
Article Title: Banning toxic heavy-metal catalysts from paints: Enzymatic cross-linking of alkyd resins
Affiliation IST Austria
Abstract: Alkyd resins are polyesters containing unsaturated fatty acids that are used as binding agents in paints and coatings. Chemical drying of these polyesters is based on heavy metal catalyzed cross-linking of the unsaturated fatty acid moieties. Among the heavy-metal catalysts, cobalt complexes are the most effective, yet they have been proven to be carcinogenic. Therefore, strategies to replace the cobalt-based catalyst by environmentally friendlier and less toxic alternatives are under development. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that a laccase-mediator system can effectively replace the heavy-metal catalyst and cross-link alkyd resins. Interestingly, the biocatalytic reaction does not only work in aqueous media, but also in a solid film, where enzyme diffusion is limited. Within the catalytic cycle, the mediator oxidizes the alkyd resin and is regenerated by the laccase, which is uniformly distributed within the drying film as evidenced by confocal laser scanning microscopy. During gradual build-up of molecular weight, there is a concomitant decrease of the oxygen content in the film. A new optical sensor to follow oxygen consumption during the cross-linking reaction was developed and validated with state of the art techniques. A remarkable feature is the low sample amount required, which allows faster screening of new catalysts.
Journal Title: Green Chemistry
Volume: 15
Issue 2
ISSN: 14639262
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry  
Date Published: 2013-02-01
Start Page: 381
End Page: 388
DOI: 10.1039/c2gc36666e
Open access: no