Uncharted Pathways for CrCl3 Catalyzed Glucose Conversion in Aqueous Solution

Irene Tosi, Samuel Gilbert Elliot, Bo Jessen, Anders Riisager, Esben Taarning, Sebastian Meier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Innovative processes for converting carbohydrates to materials and fuels form the basis for profitable bio-based economies of the future. For such innovation, approaches that provide detailed structural information would be desirable to detect uncharted chemistries of carbohydrate conversion. Among the most important value-added products accessible though conversion of biomass is 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), whose market values strongly depends on the quality of the product. Here, we use high-field in situ NMR spectroscopy to shed light on obscure competing reactions of CrCl3-catalyzed carbohydrate conversion to HMF in water. High-field NMR spectroscopy has enormous prowess in distinguishing isomeric and dehydrated products formed from glucose. Previously unidentified compounds were identified with this approach and include anhydrosugars and a variety of branched and linear mono- and disaccharides. Other identified compounds leverage the understanding of the active catalyst species. In addition to providing mechanistic insight, the approaches and findings described herein help to measure and manage carbon balances and product quality in HMF production.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTopics in Catalysis
Issue number7-11
Pages (from-to)669-677
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • 2D NMR
  • Cascade reaction
  • Catalysis
  • Chromium trichloride
  • HMF
  • Sugars

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