Synthesis of glucose esters from cellulose in ionic liquids

Igor A. Ignatyev 1 , Charlie Van Doorslaer 1 , Pascal G.N. Mertens 1 , Koen Binnemans 2  and Dirk E. de Vos 1
  • 1 Center for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis, K.U. Leuven, Heverlee, Belgium
  • 2 Department of Chemistry, Molecular Design and Synthesis, K.U. Leuven, Heverlee, Belgium


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.

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Holzforschung is an international scholarly journal that publishes cutting-edge research on the biology, chemistry, physics and technology of wood and wood components. High quality papers about biotechnology and tree genetics are also welcome. Rated year after year as one of the top scientific journals in the category of Pulp and Paper (ISI Journal Citation Index), Holzforschung represents innovative, high quality basic and applied research.