Toluene, a flammable liquid with a pungent odor, is widely employed as organic solvent. It is widely used as a precursor for synthesizing benzene and as a solvent in the paint industry. It has been reported to be a biotoxic solvent (toxic to many microorganisms at 0.1%v/v concentrations). Its anaerobic biodegradation to CO2, by the denitrifying bacterium Thauera arornatica has been reported. It forms syndiotactic polystyrene-toluene molecular compound. Crystal structure of this molecular compound has been investigated by X-ray diffraction studies.
Toluene may be used as a solvent in the following studies:
- Preparation of 4-arm polylactide-based (PLA) star oligomer.
- Transformation of C6 sugar monomers/oligomers (glucose, maltose, and β-cyclodextrins) to levulinic acid in the presence of an acid catalyst.
Toluene undergoes alkylation in the presence of modified ZSM (Zeolite Socony Mobil)-5-class zeolite catalysts to form p-xylene with high selectivity. When doped on graphene, it acts as an electron donor leading to alteration in graphene electrical properties.