Conversion of Sugars to Lactic Acid Derivatives Using Heterogeneous Zeotype Catalysts

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Science  30 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5978, pp. 602-605
DOI: 10.1126/science.1183990

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Presently, very few compounds of commercial interest are directly accessible from carbohydrates by using nonfermentive approaches. We describe here a catalytic process for the direct formation of methyl lactate from common sugars. Lewis acidic zeotypes, such as Sn-Beta, catalyze the conversion of mono- and disaccharides that are dissolved in methanol to methyl lactate at 160°C. With sucrose as the substrate, methyl lactate yield reaches 68%, and the heterogeneous catalyst can be easily recovered by filtration and reused multiple times after calcination without any substantial change in the product selectivity.

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