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Isopropyl alcohol-mediated reaction system for the production of HMF from fructose; up to 87% yield with low environmental impact

A team at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore reports in a paper in the journal ChemSusChem on an isopropyl alcohol-mediated reaction system for the production of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) from fructose that reaches a yield of up to 87%.

The solvent can be recycled by evaporation. Lai et al. Click to enlarge.

HMF is a promising chemical intermediate with wide applications in the production of fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics and liquid alkanes and was one of six primary areas of focus in a 2008 report from the National Science Foundation on bio-hydrocarbon fuels. (Earlier post.) The cost-effective production of HMF and its fuel and chemical derivatives from biomass is thus of ongoing research interest.

The solvent in the new process can be easily recycled by evaporation, giving the HMF product. The system avoids the use of large amounts of organic solvent, has a minimal environmental impact, and offers a new route to large-scale economically viable processes, the authors say.


  • Linke Lai, Yugen Zhang (2011) The Production of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural from Fructose in Isopropyl Alcohol: A Green and Efficient System. ChemSusChem DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201100489


Henry Gibson

A packaged device for converting methane to methanol was reported here, but this seems like a convenient process. It is too bad that sugar is a food. ..HG..

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