Professor Mike Sinnott.

Department of Paper Science

Background:
Moved to UMIST in 1993 after holding positions at Bristol and in the USA and specialised in carbohydrate chemistry. Retired from UMIST in 2003, now associated with the University of Huddersfield.

Research:
The application of fluorinated sugars to monitor enzyme-assisted refining, bleaching, de-inking and de-watering processes in paper manufacture[1, 2].

Glycosidases which hydrolyse the carbohydrate components of lignocellulose can assist various processes in papermaking if used in a controlled way: cellulases in refining and deinking, and hemicellulases (xylanases, mannanases, a-galactosidases) in bleaching, deinking, and dewatering. The action of labile enzymes with multiple overlapping specificities (e.g. the various cellulases) is difficult to monitor and control, and fluorinated sugars have the potential to greatly assist.[3] Syntheses of fluorinated sugars are key to these studies. Glycosyl fluorides of the “wrong” anomeric configuration can be used to specifically assay those glycosidases which act with inversion of the anomeric configuration,[3] whilst active site titrants of retaining glycosidases can be based upon the generation of fluoroglycosyl-enzyme intermediates which do not turn over.[4]

We recently found that the UMIST-discovered reagent SelectfluorTM can be used instead of acetyl hypofluorite for the electrophilic fluorination of the 2-fluoroglycal to give the parent 2,2-difluoro sugars, a good example of the synergy which can occur when complementary expertise is found in one organisation. The use of these materials as active site titrants for any retained glycosidases should contribute to solving the problems of poor reproducibility of current enzyme treatments of pulp.

References:
1. G. Davies, M. L. Sinnott and S. G. Withers in M. L. Sinnott, Ed., Comprehensive Biological Catalysis, Academic Press, London Vol I, 9119.
2. See for example S. P. Vincent, M. D. Burkhart, C.-Y. Tsai, Z. Zhang and C.-H. Wong, J. Org. Chem. 1999, 64, 4926.
3. D. Becker, K. S. H. Johnson, A. Koivula, M. Schülein and M. L. Sinnott, Biochem. J. 2000, 345, 315
4. H. Brumer, P. F. G. Sims and M. L. Sinnott, Biochem. J. 1999, 339, 43

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Fluorine@Manchester
solid fluornating agents, funfluos

Solid phase fluorinations
Sven Schroeder's group look at fluorination of organic substrates using solid-phase "functional" catalysts

Fluorine in Society
An asthma inhaler

Inhaler Propellant
The propellant in many inhalers is an inert hydrofluorocarbon compound. The same material used in air-conditioners.