Spicing Up MOFs

This article on the Chemistry World website describes interesting new research into Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) made from bio-friendly curcumin – one of the ingredients of turmeric.

A MOF is a 3D framework constructed with metal centres joined together by an organic linker capable of binding to 2 or more metals, and their chemistry has really exploded in recent years, with them being peddled as solutions to a variety of the world’s main chemical problems, such as hydrogen storage and the capture of carbon dioxide. Indeed, we have a large MOF research group right here in Nottingham focusing on such applications. MOFs for these uses typically need to have high porosity and surface area, and measuring this is often an early indication of their performance.

However, many of the highest performing MOFs are constructed from expensive rare metals or petrochemical-derived ligands. This limits their eventual applications as, if they’re to compete industrially, they need to be cheap and sustainable. A team of researchers led by Guangshan Zhu from China may have overcome this in their construction of a MOF designed to deliver drugs.by using the naturally-occurring pigment curcumin, which has anti-cancer properties itself.

The group used biologically-friendly zinc as their metal centres, with curcumin ligating between them. The resulting framework was found to be highly porous, and initial studies have shown it is able to deliver ibuprofen into the body. What’s more, the MOF degrades under biological conditions to also deliver curcumin, which means both drugs can be delivered effectively using this framework.

This really is exciting news for both the MOF and science communities, as it could pave the way for a new method of drug delivery into the body which has real potential for the future.

You can find the original research article here on the Royal Society of Chemistry website.


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