The sequestering agent EDTA is poorly biologically biodegradable and therefore passes the waste water treatment. It remobilises toxic heavy metals from sediments. By means of targeted change of the chemical structure, EDDS is obtained from EDTA. EDDS is an equally good sequestering agent and for certain applications even better than EDTA. EDDS is however highly biodegradable in the sewage treatment plant. In this way, environmental problems are avoided and the test outlay and thus the costs for the approval by REACH are greatly reduced.


Targeted optimisation of chemicals and pharmaceuticals

In the middle term, it is becoming increasing necessary to meet the criteria of a sustainable chemistry. This means that chemicals must increasingly fulfil their application goals as optimally as possible and also must have low toxicity and be as friendly to the environment as possible (“Benign by Design”). Also from economic aspects, a targeted chemical synthesis will gain in importance in the face of rising costs of chemicals and materials and in the job market.

Based on the expertise of manufacturers and users, molecules which appear to be very well suited for the respective application according to previously determined criteria (usage, environment, toxicity) can be created and evaluated by means of computer-based methods before they are synthesised. This means that the selection of the suitable chemicals and materials occurs systematically before time and money are invested in the synthesis of unsuitable candidates. Already established lead structures that can be modified accordingly can be a good start.


This innovative concept "Benign by Design" has several benefits: In addition to cost savings during synthesis, new market potentials and usage benefits can be realised as opposed to competing products, if the criteria of a sustainable chemistry is thereby fulfilled. Good decomposability or low toxicity for example also reduce the costs of registration with and authorization by REACH ("waiving").


K. Kümmerer, Benign by Design: Sustainable from the very beginning: Rational design of molecules by life cycle engineering as an important approach for green pharmacy and green chemistry. Green Chem. 9, 899-907, 2007,


The reduction of environmental contamination by means of targeted molecule design / environmental sciences and hazardous chemical research/2008, *20*(4), 249 K. Kummerer, E. Schramm*DOI: *10.1007/s12302-008-0021-5


Return to overview

© EDC Chemical Consulting | Wed, October 27th, 2021