1 Department of Chemistry, Technical University of Denmark2 Centre for Catalysis and Sustainable Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Technical University of Denmark
The present invention relates to isomerization of C4-C6 aldoses to their corresponding C4-C6 ketoses. In particular, the invention concerns isomerization of C4-C6 aldoses over solid zeolite catalysts free of any metals other than aluminum, in the presence of suitable solvent(s) at suitable elevated temperatures. C6 and C5 aldose sugars such as glucose and xylose, which are available in large amounts from biomass precursors, are isomerized to fructose and xylulose respectively, in a one or two-step process over inexpensive commercially available zeolite catalysts, containing aluminum as the only metal in the catalyst. The ketoses obtained are used as sweeteners in the food and/or brewery industry, or treated to obtain downstream platform chemicals such as lactic acid, HMF, levulinic acid, furfural, MMHB, and the like.