Isomerization of Glucose to Fructose with a Continuous Flow Reactor

Isomerization of Glucose to Fructose with a Continuous Flow Reactor

Author: ChemCatChem

To reduce the consumption of dwindling fossil resources, finding new renewable platform molecules is important. Fructose, for example, could be used as an alternative source of crucial chemicals such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural or levulinic acid. However, generating fructose from widely available glucose continuously using a non-enzymatic heterogeneous catalyst is still challenging.

Maria Ventura, Jaime Mazarío, and Marcelo E. Domine, Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain, have synthesized a hydrotalcite-derived Ca–Al mixed oxide that can be used as a heterogeneous catalyst in a fix-bed continuous flow-reactor to isomerize glucose to fructose efficiently.  Co-precipitation of the metal precursors Ca(NO3)2 and Al(NO3)3 in the presence of NaOH and aging under N2 was used to prepare the hydrotalcite-based precursor. Calcination then gave the desired mixed oxide. The catalyst was mixed with SiC and used in a tubular continuous-flow catalytic reactor. An aqueous solution of glucose was then pumped through the reactor.

An optimized Ca−Al mixed oxide could be employed as a reusable solid catalyst for the continuous isomerization of glucose with an average glucose conversion of 68 % and a fructose yield of 54 %. This performance is comparable to the enzymatic system currently used in industry.



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