Foundation: Background to green chemistry

Summary and further reading

The products of the chemical industry are everywhere and have led to a significant improvement to our quality of life, although it is essential that these products are manufactured in an environmentally compatible and economically viable way using green and sustainable methodologies.  Increased pressure on the chemical and related industries due to increasing demand for chemicals worldwide, depleting resources, stricter legislation and the rising cost of waste disposal is also driving the need for green chemistry solutions.  To realise a step-change in the way we manufacture chemical products requires a both change in mindset and an awareness of the principles and practices of green chemistry and sustainability from the beginning of a process.

Recommended reading:




  • S. M. Roberts, N. J. Turner, A. J. Willetts and M. K. Turner, Introduction to Biocatalysis Using Enzymes and Microorganisms, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1995.
  • J. Whittall and P. W. Sutton, Practical Methods for Biocatalysis and Biotransformations, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK, 2009.
  • J. Whittall and P. W. Sutton, Practical Methods for Biocatalysis and Biotransformations 2, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK, 2012.
  • R. A. Sheldon, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2012, 41, 1437
  • A. S. Wells, Biocatalysis for Medicinal Chemistry, in Green and Sustainable Medicinal Chemistry: Methods, Tools and Strategies for the 21st Century Pharmaceutical Industry, L. Summerton, H. F. Sneddon, L. C. Jones and J. H. Clark, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK, 2016, ch. 15, pp. 180-191.
  • C. M. Clouthier and J. N. Pelletier, Expanding the organic toolbox: a guide to integrating biocatalysis in synthesis, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2012, 41, 1585-1605.
  • G. W. Huisman and S. J. Collier, On the development of new biocatalytic processes for practical pharmaceutical synthesis, Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol., 2013, 17, 284-292.