Catalytic Conversion of Cellulose into Sugar Alcohols


  • This work was supported by CREST, the Japan Science and Technology Agency. We thank Prof. K. Seki for LC–MS analysis, Prof. K. Kuroda for assistance with X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and Dr. S. Inagaki, Dr. S. Yano, Prof. T. Erata, Prof. M. Niwa, and Prof. H. Hattori for helpful discussions.


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Sweetly done: Pt or Ru catalysts supported on inorganic oxides show high activity for the conversion of cellulose into sugar alcohols (mainly sorbitol) in water under hydrogen pressure; furthermore, the catalysts can be recycled over repeated runs. Glucose is produced in low yields, thus suggesting that the Pt (or Ru)/oxide works as a bifunctional catalyst for the hydrolysis of cellulose and subsequent reduction to sugar alcohols.