Pietro Tundo’s scientific interests are in the field of organic synthesis in selective methylations with low environmental impact, continuous flow chemistry, chemical detoxification of contaminants, hydrodehalogenation under multiphase conditions, phase-transfer catalysis (gas-liquid phase-transfer catalysis, GL-PTC), synthesis of crown-ethers and functionalized cryptands, supramolecular chemistry, heteropolyacids, safe alternatives to harmful chemicals and finally Green Chemistry for Cultural Heritage.
Pietro Tundo coordinated many institutional and industrial research projects with important international organizations and bodies: EU, NATO, UNESCO, OECD, Dow, ICI and Roquette.
Innovation in the chemistry of organic carbonates
In the field of reactions of dialkyl carbonates, Pietro Tundo is the foremost researcher/academic having published the greatest number of scientific papers (ISI: 63 since 1985).
In this field he reported for the first time:
– The reaction of mono-methylation of CH2 acidic compounds based DMC and its unusual mechanism; this process led to patents in Europe, USA, and Japan and concerns the production of 2-aryl propionic acids (anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen);
– The selective mono-methylation of aromatic amines;
– The selective methoxycarbonylation of aromatic amines;
– The synthesis of solvents with very low toxicity, presently used on water-based varnishes;
– New pathways and cyclisation reactions based on organic carbonates for fine chemicals (now utilized by ICI, Givaudan, for fragrances synthesis);
– New reaction pathways for the synthesis of cyclic urethanes (1,3-oxazinan-2-ones);
– Innocuous carbonate analogues of yprite mustards.
Applied Research in the Veneto Region
Casol Project (Sintesi e applicazioni di formulati innovativi a bassa tossicità per collanti impiegati nel settore calzaturiero) for the employment of green products in the footwear industry (Riviera del Brenta), Regione del Veneto, Decreto n. 135 del 17 dicembre 2009. POR Veneto, Azione 1.1.2.
Smart Cities Project: Product and process innovation for maintenance, conservation and sustainable restoration and programmed cultural heritage” (number SCN_00520) that has received funding from MIUR The Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research Programme “Smart cities and communities and social innovation – topic: Cultural Heritage”– financing permitted € 8.176.393,78.- D.D. n. 428, 13/02/2014.
Industrial Applications & New Process Technologies
Pietro Tundo’s scientific research in the Green Chemistry field led to the deposit of about 40 patents, some of which have been developed by chemical industries for the production of intermediates and green chemicals. Eg.
– Synthesis of anti-inflammatory drugs (1992, Tessenderlo, Belgium);
– Dimethyl carbonate (DMC) as an oxidant for the synthesis of α, ω-diesters (1993 INCA, Italy);
– Methyl ethers as surfactants (1998 Cognis / Henkel, Germany);
– Selectivity of amines in mono-methylanilines with zeolites as catalysts (2000 INCA, Italy);
– Selectivity of aromatic amines to produce mono-methoxycarbonyl derivatives (2007-2008, DOW, USA);
– DMC as a monomer for polymers from natural compounds (2008, Roquette, France);
– DMC and its derivatives as non-toxic solvents (2009, EU FP6 Project, Solvsafe, Lechler, Italy);
– DMC for the synthesis of cyclic ethers for fragrances. The relative patent for the production of Ambroxan is currently used by Givaudan, Switzerland, and has been extended and granted in the USA, Japan, China, EU, Mexico and India.