American scientists develop new technology, green methods, and use poplar trees to produce "paracetamol"


According to the latest thesis published in the journal “Chemical Engineering”, American scientists have developed a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable pharmaceutical method that can replace petroleum with plants to manufacture painkillers such as acetaminophen and other valuable products.

The molecule of paracetamol is composed of a six carbon benzene ring and two chemical groups. There is also a similar compound in the lignin of poplar trees, called p-hydroxybenzoate (pHB). Lignin is rich in valuable aromatic compounds that can replace many petrochemical products. The technical challenge lies in breaking down complex and irregular molecular chains into useful components.

Research has found that a new method for processing poplar biomass can convert almost all pHB into another chemical substance, which can then be converted into paracetamol or other molecules. The generation process is mainly based on water and relies on green solvents to achieve uninterrupted continuous reactions, making it an ideal choice for industrial applications. In the experiment, the team successfully converted 90% of the raw materials into paracetamol and extracted it using a cheaper method than traditional purification techniques.

Researchers say they have improved the production processes of paracetamol and other drugs, pigments, textiles, and biodegradable plastics, which is expected to provide a more environmentally friendly path for the production of drugs and other chemicals. More importantly, it makes cellulose biofuels more cost-effective than fossil fuels.

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