Production of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural from Starch Through an Environmentally-Friendly Synthesis Pathway


In this work, an environment-friendly and recyclable system was developed for converting waxy corn starch to HMF, with boric acid and choline chloride acting as co-catalysts, and a biphasic medium of water-MIBK or water-THF used as solvent. A central composite design based Response Surface Methodology was used to optimise the reaction parameters. The highest HMF yield obtained for water-MIBK was 35.9 mol%, while for water-THF, a maximum yield of 60.3 mol% was attained. However, the water-MIBK system was more recyclable, with minimal decrease in HMF yields observed even after ten rounds of reuse. Therefore, this system merits further investigation with other feedstock and on a larger scale.

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The financial support of McGill University, the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Programme de bourses d’excellence pour étudiants étrangers (PBEEE) scholarship of the Fonds de Recherche du Québec-Nature et technologies (FRQNT) is gratefully acknowledged. We are grateful to Dr. Vijaya Raghavan for permitting the use of his laboratory equipment. We are also immensely thankful to Mr Yvan Gariépy for his support in our work.

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Correspondence to Marie-Josée Dumont.

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Mukherjee, A., Dumont, M. & Cherestes, A. Production of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural from Starch Through an Environmentally-Friendly Synthesis Pathway. Catal Lett 149, 283–291 (2019).

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  • 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural
  • Corn starch
  • Biorefinery
  • Hydrothermal conversion