Ab initio molecular dynamics simulations of β-D-glucose and β-D-xylose degradation mechanisms in acidic aqueous solution

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Abstract

Ab initio molecular dynamics simulations were employed to investigate, with explicit solvent water molecules, β-D-glucose and β-D-xylose degradation mechanisms in acidic media. The rate-limiting step in sugar degradation was found to be protonation of the hydroxyl groups on the sugar ring. We found that the structure of water molecules plays a significant role in the acidic sugar degradation pathways. Firstly, a water molecule competes with the hydroxyl group on the sugar ring for protons. Secondly, water forms hydrogen bonds with the hydroxyl groups on the sugar rings, thus weakening the C-C and C-O bonds (each to a different degree). Note that the reaction pathways could be altered due to the change of relative stability of the C-C and C-O bonds. Thirdly, water molecules that are hydrogen-bonded to sugar hydroxyls could easily extract a proton from the reaction intermediate, terminating the reaction. Indeed, the sugar degradation pathway is complex due to multiple protonation probabilities and the surrounding water structure. Our experimental data support multiple sugar acidic degradation pathways.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2319-2327
Number of pages9
JournalCarbohydrate Research
Volume340
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-510-37226

Keywords

  • β-D-Glucose
  • β-D-Xylose
  • Acidic
  • Degradation
  • Pathway
  • Water structure

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