The potential of erythritol as a platform chemical in biomass refinery is discussed in terms of erythritol production and utilization. Regarding erythritol production, fermentation of sugar or starch has been already commercialized. The shift of the carbon source from glucose to inexpensive inedible waste glycerol is being investigated, which will decrease the price of erythritol. The carbon-based yield of erythritol from glycerol is comparable to or even higher than that from glucose. The metabolic pathway of erythritol biosynthesis has become clarified: erythrose-4-phosphate, which is one of the intermediates in the pentose phosphate pathway, is dephosphorylated and reduced to erythritol. The information about the metabolic pathway may give insights to improve the productivity by bleeding. Regarding erythritol utilization, chemical conversions of erythritol, especially deoxygenation, have been investigated in these days. Erythritol is easily dehydrated to 1,4-anhydroerythritol, which can be also used as the substrate for production of useful C4 chemicals. C-O hydrogenolysis and deoxydehydration using heterogeneous catalysts are effective reactions for erythritol/1,4-anhydroerythritol conversion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)