The hydrolysis of βO4 bonds in two lignin model compounds was studied in an acidic ionic liquid, 1-H-3-methylimidazolium chloride. The βO4 bonds of both guaiacylglycerol-β-guaiacyl ether and veratrylglycerol-β-guaiacyl ether underwent catalytic hydrolysis to produce guaiacol as the primary product with more than 70 % yield at 150 °C. Up to 32 wt % substrate concentration could be treated in the system without a decrease in guaiacol production. The ionic liquid could be reused without loss of activity in guaiacol production from both guaiacylglycerol-β-guaiacyl ether and veratrylglycerol-β-guaiacyl ether. A possible mechanism accounting for the guaiacol production is presented.
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