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Destruction of Organophosphate Agents by Recyclable Catalytic Magnetic Nanoparticles

L. Bromberg and T.A. Hatton
Massachusetts Intitute of Technology, US

Keywords:
magnetite, oximate ion, catalysis, nerve agent decomposition

Abstract:
Organophosphorus pesticides and warfare agents are not readily hydrolyzed in aqueous media without applying extremes of pH, heat, or bleach. We show that suspensions of magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles modified with a common antidote, 2-pralidoxime (PAM), its polymeric analog, poly(4-vinylpyridine-N-phenacyloxime-co-acrylic acid), or poly(N-vinylimidazole-co-acrolein oxime-co-acrylic acid) (PImAA) catalyze the hydrolysis of organophosphate (OP) compounds such as diisopropyl fluorophosphate (DFP) or insecticide diethyl-p-nitrophenyl phosphate (paraoxon) serving as models of the warfare nerve agents, at neutral pH. The oxime-modified magnetite particle serves as a nano-sized particulate carrier with a powerful a-nucleophile, the oximate group, immobilized on its surface. The rates of OP hydrolysis by the PAM- or PImAA-modified magnetite are comparable to those of the most potent copper-based catalysts. The oxime-modified magnetite nanoparticles are colloidally stable at neutral pH and are readily recovered for reuse from the aqueous milieu by high-gradient magnetic separation methods with no loss of catalytic activity.

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