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Acid-Catalyzed Conversion of Sugars and Furfurals in an Ionic-Liquid Phase



The reactivity of monosaccharides, furfural, and 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furfural (HMF) in the presence of a Brønsted acid (added as H2SO4) in the ionic liquid 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride (BMImCl) is investigated at 120 °C. Fructose is converted much faster than mannose, glucose, and xylose and yields HMF with high selectivity, even in the absence of acid. Conversion of mannose, glucose, and xylose involves more complex reaction networks. Only small amounts of furfural and HMF are converted in the absence of other reactants but both compounds are consumed when monosaccharides and their degradation products are present. Acid-catalyzed degradation reactions also lead to the formation of solid residues (humins).