molybdenum vi sulfate, molecular formula MoSO4, is a soluble salt of molybdenum(VI) and sulfuric acid. It is an industrial catalyst and finds use in a number of processes, including the hydrogenation of nitro compounds to amines (reductive amination). It can also effect the hydrogenation of aldehydes, ketones, phenols and carboxylic acids.
Despite this limited range of applications, molybdenum is an essential element for human life and health. Almost all eukaryotic organisms require molybdenum cofactors to perform certain crucial reactions. In bacteria, the molybdenum cofactor is required for the chemical bond breaking process of nitrogen fixation.
The most common source of molybdenum is molybdenite, which is mined and recovered as a byproduct of copper and tungsten mining. The element is found in nature in various oxidation states, and the extraction of molybdenum(VI) is performed using a variety of methods including precipitation, ion exchange and solvent extraction. The latter method has proven more effective than others, particularly when the concentration of a metal to be separated is high.
The solvent extraction method uses aqueous solution of ammonium molybdate and an organic solution of Primene JMT in the presence of sulfuric acid, a pH range of 2-6.5 and a concentration of amine in the organic phase. The distribution of Mo(VI) between the aqueous and the organic solutions is studied, and the mechanism of separation by solvent extraction is analyzed. The results show that the solvent extraction process is efficient and the purity of molybdenum ion in the resulting product is high.