Selective synthesis of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural over natural rubber–derived carbon/silica nanocomposites with acid–base bifunctionality

Satit Yousatit, Ryota Osuga, Junko N. Kondo, Toshiyuki Yokoi, Chawalit Ngamcharussrivichai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is an important platform molecule, derived from biomass-based carbohydrates, for the production of renewable fuel additives, liquid hydrocarbon fuels, biopolymers, and specialty chemicals. In this study, a mesoporous carbon/silica (MCS) nanocomposite, as catalyst support, was prepared using a nanocomposite of natural rubber (NR) and hexagonal mesoporous silica (HMS) as a precursor. To obtain a series of acidic, basic, and bifunctional acid-base catalysts, the MCS surface was modified using post-synthesis methods in which the carbon moieties were decorated with sulfonic acid groups, whereas the silica matrix surface was grafted with 3-aminopropyl groups. The resulting materials exhibited high surface area, large pore volume, and contain some oxygen-containing functional groups. Their acid-base properties were tunable by varying the content of sulfonic acid and aminopropyl groups. The HMF was synthesized by catalytic conversion of fructose and glucose in a biphasic medium. Fructose dehydration catalyzed by sulfonated MCS catalyst (MCS-SO3H) at 150 °C for 2 h yields 56% HMF at 81% conversion. For the glucose system, the Brønsted basic sites facilitated the glucose–fructose isomerization, however, it promoted the formation of undesired humins. The acid/base ratio of bifunctional MCS catalysts (MCS-SO3H-NH2) contributes to the HMF yield and selectivity. The HMF yield of 39.4% was obtained over the MCS-SO3H-NH2 catalyst with an acid/base ratio of 0.10 at 190 °C for 1 h. In both systems, the formation of levulinic acid, a byproduct of HMF hydrolysis, was suppressed due to the hydrophobicity of the MCS catalyst. These developed catalysts are promising for the synthesis of HMF from glucose, at high substrate concentration than those reported in the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122577
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar 1


  • 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural
  • Acid–base catalyst
  • Dehydration
  • Hydrophobicity
  • Mesoporous carbon/silica composite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Organic Chemistry


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