Date of Award


Document Type



Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Dr. Roseann Sachs


Photo system II (PSII), a protein complex found in plants and an integral part of photosynthesis, uses light to oxidize water to oxygen. PSII may also be capable of oxidizing small alcohols. This light driven biotransformation could be an excellent green oxidation method. PSI! was isolated from spinach leaves and its activity verified by quantifying the oxygen produced from water. Methods were developed· to identify alcohols and their oxidized products using gas chromatography. The reaction of 2-propanol and n-propanol with PSI! and light were explored. n-Propanol and PSII were also mixed in the dark with H202 as the potential oxidant. While trace amounts of oxidation products were observed in a few experiments, further investigation of this reaction is necessary to determine whether this method can be used as a viable and quantitative green alternative for the oxidation of alcohols in organic synthesis.