Heterogeneous Catalysis for Perfumery Chemicals

Kannan Srinivasan*, Jinesh C. Manayil, Churchil A. Antonyraj

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


The use of fragrance chemicals is known to have begun thousands of years ago. During the early years, the fragrant chemicals were used only in perfumery notes. This scenario was changed in the 20th century by the modernization in lifestyle. Today, the fragrant chemicals are dovetailed into our daily lives not only in perfumery, but also in food, beverages, cosmetics, soaps, detergents, and household items, etc. The global market for fragrance chemicals, including perfumes, in 2012 was around US. 23 billion and forecast to be US. 33 billion by 2015. The sources of these chemicals are largely plant-based. Traditionally, they are extracted from plants and are used as such, but sometime require conversion to other chemical substances (synthetic) to produce different aromas. In recent years, most are synthesized in laboratories given the lack of the right kind of plant material. The chemical transformations involved in these reactions and some of them practiced in the industries (which are largely closely guarded) involve catalysis that encompasses homogeneous, heterogeneous, and bio-catalysis. Most of the homogeneous catalytic routes often encounter environmentally unfriendly materials, such as corrosive alkali or acids, or soluble forms of toxic metals that generate large waste which are often disposed of improperly, causing a concern to the environment, while bio-catalytic routes are very specific and expensive. New methods/approaches are being developed using heterogeneous catalysts for the synthesis of perfumery molecules, with an eye on atom economy and E-factor as prime movers, thanks to their inherent advantages, including cost competitiveness. In this chapter, we cover a broad industrial outlook on fragrance chemicals, including the intellectual property scenario, approaches made through homogeneous and bio-catalytic routes, and address in detail heterogeneous catalytic methods for the synthesis of diverse perfumery molecules, through different classes of reactions, including our own contribution that comprises isomerization. We conclude by giving opportunities and future directions in the field of perfumery chemicals, where heterogeneous catalysis is ordained to play an important role in the years to come.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIndustrial Catalytic Processes for Fine and Specialty Chemicals
Number of pages46
ISBN (Print)9780128014578
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2016


  • C-C bond forming reactions
  • Catalysis
  • Fragrance and flavours
  • Heterogeneous Catalysis
  • Hydroformylation
  • Hydrogenation
  • Isomerization
  • Perfumery chemicals
  • Selective oxidation


Dive into the research topics of 'Heterogeneous Catalysis for Perfumery Chemicals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this