Catalysis Letters

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 195-199

First online:

Catalytic oxidation with air of tartronic acid to mesoxalic acid on bismuth-promoted platinum

  • P. Fordham
  • , M. Besson
  • , P. Gallezot

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Mesoxalic acid (ketomalonic acid) was prepared by oxidative dehydrogenation with air of tartronic acid in aqueous solution on carbon-supported platinum-bismuth catalysts. By increasing the pH, using a higher catalyst/substrate ratio or increasing the temperature, higher yields could be obtained (maximum yield obtained of 65% at 80% conversion). The results obtained for this reaction and for the analogous catalytic oxidations of glyceric acid to hydroxypyruvic acid, and lactic acid to pyruvic acid, enabled a general reaction mechanism to be proposed for the selective oxidation of α-hydroxy acids to α-keto acids on platinum-bismuth catalysts.