Catalytic degradation of an organophosphorus agent at Zn-OH sites in a metal-organic framework

Mohammad Rasel Mian, Timur Islamoglu*, Unjila Afrin, Subhadip Goswami, Ran Cao, Kent O. Kirlikovali, Morgan G. Hall, Gregory W. Peterson, Omar K. Farha*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Chemical warfare agents (CWAs), and in particular organophosphorus nerve agents, still pose a significant threat to society due to their continued use despite international bans. While nature has constructed a variety of enzymes that are capable of rapidly hydrolyzing organophosphorus substrates, the poor stability of enzymes outside of buffered solutions has limited their use in practical applications, such as in filters or on protective suits. As a result, we have explored the use of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) as robust and tunable catalytic materials in which the nodes can be tailored to resemble the active sites found in these enzymes. We identified the Zn-based MOF, MFU-4l, as a promising hydrolysis catalyst due to the presence of Zn(II)-OH groups on the nodes, which are structurally reminiscent of the active sites in carbonic anhydrase (CA), a Zn-based enzyme that has been shown to efficiently catalyze the hydrolysis of phosphate esters. Indeed, MFU-4l can rapidly hydrolyze both the organophosphorus nerve agent, GD, and its simulant, DMNP, with half-lives as low as <1 min, which is competitive with the some of best heterogeneous hydrolysis catalysts reported to date.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6998-7004
Number of pages7
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 25 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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