Simple and compelling biomimetic metal-organic framework catalyst for the degradation of nerve agent simulants

Michael J. Katz, Joseph E. Mondloch, Ryan K. Totten, Jin K. Park, Sonbinh T. Nguyen, Omar K. Farha, Joseph T Hupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

199 Citations (Scopus)


Inspired by biology, in which a bimetallic hydroxide-bridged zinc(II)-containing enzyme is utilized to catalytically hydrolyze phosphate ester bonds, the utility of a zirconium(IV)-cluster-containing metal-organic framework as a catalyst for the methanolysis and hydrolysis of phosphate-based nerve agent simulants was examined. The combination of the strong Lewis-acidic ZrIV and bridging hydroxide anions led to ultrafast half-lives for these solvolysis reactions. This is especially remarkable considering that the actual catalyst loading was a mere 0.045 % as a result of the surface-only catalysis observed. Nervous breakdown: UiO-66, a biomimetic metal-organic framework based on a zirconium oxo cluster, is capable of rapidly catalyzing the breakdown of phosphate-based nerve agent simulants. UiO-66 catalyzes both methanolysis and hydrolysis of the nerve agent simulant methyl paraoxon (shown in the graphic, R=CH3) with high catalytic efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-501
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 7 2014



  • coordination polymers
  • heterogeneous catalysis
  • hydrolysis
  • metal-organic frameworks
  • nerve agents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Catalysis

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