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Keywords:

  • biomass;
  • carbenes;
  • carbohydrates;
  • catalysis;
  • ionic liquids
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

A sweet conversion! A NHC–Cr/ionic liquid system has achieved excellent efficiency and the highest 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (1; see scheme; NHC=N-heterocyclic carbene) yields reported thus far for both fructose and glucose feedstocks. The catalyst and ionic liquid are tolerant of high substrate loading and can be recycled after extraction of the product.