Phthalocyanine–Virus Nanofibers as Heterogeneous Catalysts for Continuous-Flow Photo-Oxidation Processes

Eduardo Anaya-Plaza, Ana Aljarilla, Grégory Beaune, Nonappa, Jaakko V.I. Timonen, Andrés de la Escosura, Tomás Torres*, Mauri A. Kostiainen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


The generation of highly reactive oxygen species (ROS) at room temperature for application in organic synthesis and wastewater treatment represents a great challenge of the current chemical industry. In fact, the development of biodegradable scaffolds to support ROS-generating active sites is an important prerequisite for the production of environmentally benign catalysts. Herein, the electrostatic cocrystallization of a cationic phthalocyanine (Pc) and negatively charged tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) is described, together with the capacity of the resulting crystals to photogenerate ROS. To this end, a novel peripherally crowded zinc Pc (1) is synthesized. With 16 positive charges, this photosensitizer shows no aqueous aggregation, and is able to act as a molecular glue in the unidimensional assembly of TMV. A step-wise decrease of ionic strength in mixtures of both components results in exceptionally long fibers, constituted by hexagonally bundled viruses thoroughly characterized by electron and confocal microscopy. The fibers are able to produce ROS in a proof-of-concept microfluidic device, where they are immobilized and irradiated in several cycles, showing a resilient performance. The bottom-up approach also enables the light-triggered disassembly of fibers after use. This work represents an important example of a biohybrid material with projected application in light-mediated heterogeneous catalysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1902582
JournalAdvanced Materials
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • heterogeneous catalysis
  • phthalocyanines
  • reactive oxygen species
  • self-assembly
  • viral capsids


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