Cascade Production of Lactic Acid from Universal Types of Sugars Catalyzed by Lanthanum Triflate.

Author(s) Liu, D.; Kim, K.Ho; Sun, J.; Simmons, B.A.; Singh, S.
Journal ChemSusChem
Date Published 2018 Feb 09

Lignocellulosic biomass conversion into value-added platform chemicals in the non-toxic, water-tolerant Lewis acid, and water solutions bears the hallmark of green chemistry. Lactic acid derived from biomass is an important chemical building block for biodegradable polymers such as polylactide. Herein, a universal method of converting lignocellulosic sugars into lactic acid using catalytic amount of water-stable Lewis acid La(OTf)is demonstrated. The lignocellulosic sugars studied in this work include 1) pyrolytic sugars from pyrolysis oil, and 2) sugars derived from ionic liquid (IL)-pretreated biomass. Under moderate conditions (250 °C, 1 h), levoglucosan (major pyrolytic sugar), glucose, and xylose were converted into lactic acid with carbon-based molar yields of 75, 74, and 61 %, respectively. Furthermore, roughly 49 mol % (based on levoglucosan) and 74 wt % (relative to pretreated biomass) of lactic acid were obtained from the conversion of pyrolytic sugars and sugar-rich fraction after lignin removal from switchgrass, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first reported conversion of pyrolytic sugar into lactic acid by chemocatalysis and also lignocellulosic sugars are converted into lactic acid without hydrolysis. This approach could potentially be extended to other lignocellulosic sugars after simple removal of lignin from biomass pretreatment, rendering moderate to high yields of lactic acid.

DOI 10.1002/cssc.201701902
ISSN 1864-564X
Citation ChemSusChem. 2018;11(3):598604.

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