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Dried chitosan-gels as organocatalysts for the production of biomass-derived platform chemicals


Leitner,  Walter
Institut für Technische und Makromolekulare Chemie (ITMC), RWTH Aachen University;
Service Department Leitner (Technical Labs), Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Max Planck Society;

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Kayser, H., Müller, C. R., García-González, C. A., Smirnova, I., Leitner, W., & Domínguez de María, P. (2012). Dried chitosan-gels as organocatalysts for the production of biomass-derived platform chemicals. Applied Catalysis A: General, 445-446, 180-186. doi:10.1016/j.apcata.2012.08.014.

Aldol condensations between sugar-derived dehydrated aldehydes (e.g. furfural) and acetone have been proposed as a route to provide useful biomass-derived chemicals. In the quest of sustainable catalytic ways for such aldol condensations, this paper assesses the use of dried chitosan-gels as naturally immobilized, readily available and non-hazardous amino-based organocatalysts. At room temperature chitosan dried gels are not suitable catalysts for the desired reaction. However, at higher temperatures (>90 ◦C) reaction proceeds efficiently either in solvent-free systems (with addition of catalytic amounts of water) or in water. The set-up of closed reactor set-ups (thermoshakers or microwave reactions) proved highly beneficial for the reaction outcome. Furthermore, chitosan dried gels were successfully re-used for a number of cycles. An efficient catalyst drying method (either lyophilization or scCO2 drying) was crucial to achieve virtually full conversions in 4 h. After pertinent further process optimization, dried chitosan-gels may become very useful catalysts for their use in biomass-based reactions in biorefineries.