Direct Transformation of Fructose and Glucose to 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural in Ionic Liquids under Mild Conditions

Xiaoqian Guo, Changhui Zhu, Feng Guo


Direct dehydration of fructose and glucose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) was studied using ionic liquids (ILs) without adding any catalysts. Various ILs were screened, and the highest 5-HMF yield of 95.6% was obtained using 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tosylate ([BMIM][TSO]) at 353 K for 30 min. Proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectra confirmed that the sulfonate hydrolysates of anions of [BMIM][TSO] acted as active sites for the dehydration of fructose to 5-HMF. The [BMIM][TSO] catalyzed dehydration reaction showed relatively low activation energy (Ea). A mixture of dimethyl sulfoxide and 1-sulfobutyl-3-methylimidazolium trifluoromethane sulfate (DMSO-[BSO3HMIM][OTF]) was used at 413 K for 50 min for the dehydration of glucose, which yielded 59.8% 5-HMF. The addition of t-butanol, as an isomerization promoter, to DMSO-[BSO3HMIM][OTF] led to a higher 5-HMF selectivity without sacrificing 5-HMF yield.


Fructose; Glucose; Dehydration; 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural; Ionic liquids

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