Au@h-Al2O3 analogic yolk–shell nanocatalyst for highly selective synthesis of biomass-derived d-xylonic acid via regulation of structure effects†
Selective oxidation of biomass-based monosaccharides into value-added sugar acids is highly desired, but limited success of producing D-xylonic acid has been achieved. Herein, we report an efficient catalyst system, viz., Au nanoparticles anchored on the inner walls of hollow Al2O3 nanospheres (Au@h-Al2O3), which could catalyze the selective oxidation of D-xylose into D-xylonic acid under base-free conditions. The mesoporous Al2O3 shell as the adsorbent first adsorbed D-xylose. Then, the interface of Au nanoparticles and Al2O3 as active sites spontaneously dissociated O2, and the exposed Au nanoparticle surface as the catalytic site drove the transformation. With this catalyst system, the valuable D-xylonic acid was produced with excellent yields in the aerobic oxidation of D-xylose. Extensive investigation showed that Au@h-Al2O3 is an efficient catalyst with high stability and recyclability.