Pharmaceuticals from Furfural
(2S)-phenyl-3-piperidone is an intermediate in the synthesis of compounds, which possess pharmacological activit. A group of researchers published in May 2014 their “efficient synthetic route towards tosyl-protected (2S)-phenyl-3-piperidone, a common intermediate for many drugs, has been developed in 5 steps with 54% yield from biomass derived furfural” . The starting material for the synthesis was sun-dried rice straw, which was “collected from a rice straw farm in Jiangxi Province Fengcheng Area (China).
While at present the principal applications of furfural are seen to be as an extractant for lubricating oils, vegetable oils, and diesel fuel, as a fungicide, as a nematocide, and as the raw material for furfuryl alcohol to make foundry resins, other uses have been proven successfully on a multitude of fronts, and it is only a lack of research which prevents furfural and its derivatives from flooding the world in a stunning variety of different applications.
References: Teck Peng Loh, Peng-Fei Koh, Peng Wang and Jing-Mei Huang, Biomass Derived Furfural-Based Facile Synthesis of Protected (2S)-phenyl-3-piperidone, a Common Intermediate for Many Drugs, Chem. Commun., 2014, Accepted Manuscript (Supporting information, for our clients: downloads)  Introduction to the last chapter (“Odd Applications”) of the appendices in Karl Joachim Zeitsch, The Chemistry and Technology of Furfural and its Many By-Products; Sugar Series, Vol. 13; Elsevier: Amsterdam, 2000.
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