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Carbohydr Res. 2013 Mar 7;368:78-83. doi: 10.1016/j.carres.2012.12.021. Epub 2013 Jan 3.

Catalytic dehydration of fructose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural over Nb2O5 catalyst in organic solvent.

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Key Laboratory of Applied Surface and Colloid Chemistry (SNNU), MOE, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China.


The catalytic dehydration of fructose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) in DMSO was performed over Nb2O5 derived from calcination of niobic acid at various temperatures (300-700 °C). The catalysts were characterized by powder X-ray diffraction, N2 physical adsorption, temperature-programed desorption of NH3, n-butylamine titration using Hammett indicators, infrared spectroscopy of adsorbed pyridine, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. It was found that both catalytic activity and surface acid sites decrease with increasing calcination temperatures. The Nb2O5 derived from calcination of niobic acid at 400 °C reveals the maximum yield of HMF among all the catalysts, although the amount of acid sites on the catalyst is lower than that on the sample calcined at 300 °C. The results suggest that the presence of larger amounts of strong acid sites on the surface of the Nb2O5 calcined at 300 °C may promote side reactions. The Nb2O5 prepared at 400 °C shows 100% fructose conversion with 86.2% HMF yield in DMSO at 120 °C after 2 h. The activity of the catalyst decreases gradually during recycle because of coke deposition; however, it can be fully recovered by calcination at 400 °C for 2 h, suggesting that this catalyst is of significance for practical applications.

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