Hydrothermal conversion of carbohydrate biomass to lactic acid

Xiuyi Yan, Fangming Jin, Kazuyuki Tohji, Atsushi Kishita, Heiji Enomoto

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119 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the hydrothermal conversion of the carbohydrates including glucose, cellulose, and starch to lactic acid using NaOH and Ca(OH)2 as alkaline catalysts. Both catalysts significantly promoted the lactic acid formation. The highest yield of lactic acid from glucose was 27% with 2.5 M NaOH and 20% with 0.32 M Ca(OH)2 at 300°C for 60 s. The lactic acid yields from cellulose and starch were comparable with the yield from glucose with 0.32 M Ca(OH)2 at 300°C, but the reaction time in the case of cellulose was 90 s. The mechanism of lactic acid formation from glucose was discussed by identifying the intermediate products. Lactic acid may be formed via the formation of aldoses of two to four carbons including aldose of three carbons, which are all formed by reverse aldol condensation and double bond rule of hexose. This implies that carbon-carbon cleavage occurs at not only C3-C4 but also at C2-C3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2727-2733
Number of pages7
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Oct 1


  • Aldose
  • Alkaline hydrothermal reaction
  • Carbohydrate biomass
  • Lactic acid
  • Reverse aldol condensation reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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