In water, metallic palladium was found to catalyze the deep oxidation of a wide variety of functional organics by dioxygen at 80-90°C in the presence of carbon monoxide. Several classes of organic compounds were examined: benzene, phenol and substituted phenols, aliphatic and aromatic halogenated compounds, organophosphorus, and organosulfur compounds. In every case, deep oxidation to carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and water occurred in high yields, resulting in up to several hundred turnovers over a 24 h period. Since the heterogeneous catalyst can be removed by simple filtration, simultaneous water purification and contaminant destruction becomes feasible. For those substrates that are insoluble in pure water, a mixture of water and perfluorobutyric acid was successfully employed as the solvent.
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