Synthesis of isosorbide: an overview of challenging reactions
Isosorbide is a diol derived from sorbitol and obtained through dehydration reactions that has raised much interest in the literature over the past few decades. Thus, this platform chemical is a biobased alternative to a number of petrosourced molecules that can find applications in a large number of technical specialty fields, such as plasticizers, monomers, solvents or pharmaceuticals. The synthesis of isosorbide is still a technical challenge, as several competitive reactions must be simultaneously handled to promote a high molar yield and avoid side reactions, like degradation and polymerization. In this purpose, many studies have proposed innovative and varied methods with promising results. This review gives an overview of the synthesis strategies and catalysts developed to access this very attractive molecule, pointing out both the results obtained and the remaining issues connected to isosorbide synthesis.