A homogeneous catalyst is provided comprising one or more metals; and at least two metal coordinating ligands wherein the homogeneous catalyst is a multi-ligand metal complex_adapted for use with an oxidant in an oxidation reaction to catalytically pretreat lignocellulosic biomass. In one embodiment, the homogenous catalyst is copper (II) 2,2' bipyridine ethylenediamine (Cu(bpy)en). Related methods are also disclosed.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT RIGHTS
 This invention was made with government support under DE-FC02-07ER64494 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.