(Image: DalinYebo, adapted from Bart Danon, Gianluca Marcotullio and Wiebren de Jong)

Plausible mechanism of xylose reaction to furfural in acid media

Synthesis of Furfural: Well established in some aspects, but yet to be fully unravelled!

Despite the the fact that furfural was discovered in 1832, Gianluca and his co-authors found that ..

there is still much to be discovered, especially with regard to the complex set of side and loss reactions seemingly involving largely unknown reaction intermediates.

In the January 2014 issue, Green Chemistry presents a critical review of “both the mechanistic and kinetic aspects of furfural formation from pentoses in aqueous acidic media have been reviewed. Based on the reviewed literature, a comprehensive reaction mechanism has been proposed consisting of more than one route, all starting from acyclic xylose, and involving alternately 1,2-enolization, β-elimination or isomerization via 1,2-hydride shift as key steps”.


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