Kinetics of Glucose Epimerization and Decomposition in Subcritical and Supercritical Water

Bernard M. Kabyemela, Tadafumi Adschiri, Roberto M. Malaluan, Kunio Arai

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Glucose decomposition kinetics in subcritical and supercritical water were studied for the temperatures 573, 623, and 673 K, pressures between 25 and 40 MPa, and residence times between 0.02 and 2 s. Glucose decomposition products were fructose, saccharinic acids, erythrose, glyceraldehyde, 1,6-anhydroglucose, dihydroxyacetone, pyruvaldehyde, and small amounts of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural. Fructose was also studied and found to decompose to products similar to those of glucose, except that its epimerization to glucose was negligibly low and no formation of 1,6-anhydroglucose was detected. We concluded that only the forward epimerization of glucose to fructose was important. The glucose decomposition pathway could be described in terms of a forward epimerization rate, rgf, a fructose to decomposition products rate, rf, and a glucose to decomposition products rate, rg. A kinetic model based on this pathway gave good correlation of the experimental data. In the subcritical region, rg, rf, and rgf showed only small changes with pressure at a given temperature. In the supercritical region, the rate of glucose decomposition decreased with pressure at a given temperature. The reason for this decrease was mainly due to the decrease in rgf. The pressure effect in the supercritical region shows that there is a shift among the kinetic rates, which can lead to higher selectivity for glucose when decomposing cellulosic materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1552-1558
Number of pages7
JournalIndustrial & Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1997 May


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