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International Journal of the Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Technology of Wood

Editor-in-Chief: Faix, Oskar

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Synthesis of glucose esters from cellulose in ionic liquids

Igor A. Ignatyev1 / Charlie Van Doorslaer1 / Pascal G.N. Mertens1 / Koen Binnemans2 / 1

1Center for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis, K.U. Leuven, Heverlee, Belgium

2Department of Chemistry, Molecular Design and Synthesis, K.U. Leuven, Heverlee, Belgium

Corresponding author. Center for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis, K.U. Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 23 – box 2461, B-3001, Heverlee, Belgium Phone: +32-16321610 Fax: +32-16321998

Citation Information: Holzforschung. Volume 66, Issue 4, Pages 417–425, ISSN (Online) 1437-434X, ISSN (Print) 0018-3830, DOI: 10.1515/hf.2011.161, November 2011

Publication History

Published Online:


The transformation of cellulose into glucose ester α-d-glucose pentaacetate (GPAc) was carried out in ionic liquid 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride under mild reaction conditions. The reaction comprises two steps: the first involves a hydrolysis reaction, yielding α-d-glucose and glucose oligomers; and then only after some time, the acetylating reagent acetic anhydride is added. Under optimized conditions and with the acidic resin Amberlyst 15DRY as a hydrolysis catalyst, a 70% yield of GPAc was obtained. This product could be quantitatively isolated by simple liquid-liquid extraction, which allowed easy recycling of the ionic liquid and catalyst.

Keywords: acetylation; acid catalysis; cellulose; ionic liquids; heterogeneous catalysis

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