Acidic Sugar Degradation Pathways: An Ab Initio Molecular Dynamics Study

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Ab initio molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were employed to elucidate xylose and glucose degradation pathways. In the case of xylose, a 2,5-anhydride intermediate was observed leading to the formation of furfural through elimination of water. This pathway agrees with one of the mechanisms proposed in the literature in that no open chain intermediates were found. In the case of glucose, a series of intermediates were observed before forming the 2,5-anhydride intermediate that eventually leads to hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). One of these intermediates was a very short-lived open-chain form. Furthermore, two novel side-reaction pathways were identified, which lead to degradation products other than HMF.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)989-997
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology - Part A Enzyme Engineering and Biotechnology
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 2005

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-510-38275


  • Acidic, intermediate, sugar
  • Degradation
  • Pathway


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