Glucose Reversion Reaction Kinetics

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The reversion reactions of glucose in mildly acidic aqueous solutions have been studied, and the kinetics of conversion to disaccharides has been modeled. The experiments demonstrate that, at high sugar loadings, up to 12 wt % of the glucose can be converted into reversion products. The reversion products observed are primarily disaccharides; no larger oligosaccharides were observed. Only disaccharides linked to the C1 carbon of one of the glucose residues were observed. The formation of 1,6-linked disaccharides was favored, and α-linked disaccharides were formed at higher concentrations than β-linked disaccharides. This observation can be rationalized on the basis of steric effects. At temperatures >140 °C, the disaccharides reach equilibrium with glucose and the reversion reaction competes with dehydration reactions to form 5-hydroxymethylfurfural. As a result, disaccharide formation reaches a maximum at reaction times <10 min and decreases with time. At temperatures <130 °C, disaccharide formation reaches a maximum at reaction times >30 min. As expected, disaccharide formation exhibits a second-order dependence upon glucose concentration. Levoglucosan formation is also observed; because it shows a first-order dependence upon glucose concentration, its formation is more significant at low concentrations (10 mg mL-1), whereas disaccharide formation dominates at high concentrations (200 mg mL-1). Experiments conducted using glucose and its disaccharides were calibrated with readily available standards. The kinetic parameters for hydrolysis of some glucodisaccharides could be compared to published literature values. From these experiments, the kinetics and activation energies for the reversion reactions have been calculated. The rate parameters can be used to model the formation of the disaccharides as a function of reaction time and temperature. A new and detailed picture of the molecular mechanism of these industrially important reversion reactions has been developed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)6131-6140
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2010

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-510-46869


  • Anhydroglucose
  • Cellobiose
  • Glucodisaccharides
  • Glucooligomers
  • Glucose
  • Levoglucosan
  • Reversion reactions
  • Sugar loss


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