Issue 13, 2022

Electrosynthesis of amino acids from biomass-derived α-hydroxyl acids

Abstract

Electrochemical conversion of biomass-derived intermediate compounds to high-value products has emerged as a promising approach in the field of biorefinery. Biomass upgrading allows for the production of chemicals from non-fossil-based carbon sources and capitalization on electricity as a green energy input. Amino acids, as products of biomass upgrading, have received relatively little attention. Pharmaceutical and food industries will benefit from an alternative strategy for the production of amino acids that does not rely on inefficient fermentation processes. The use of renewable biomass resources as starting materials makes this proposed strategy more desirable. Herein, we report an electrochemical approach for the selective oxidation of biomass-derived α-hydroxyl acids to α-keto acids, followed by electrochemical reductive amination to yield amino acids as the final products. Such a strategy takes advantage of both reactions at the anode and cathode and produces amino acids under ambient conditions with high energy efficiency. A flow electrolyzer was also successfully employed for the conversion of α-hydroxyl acids to amino acids, highlighting its great potential for large-scale application.

Graphical abstract: Electrosynthesis of amino acids from biomass-derived α-hydroxyl acids

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
Paper
Submitted
11 May 2022
Accepted
04 Jun 2022
First published
17 Jun 2022

Green Chem., 2022,24, 5320-5325

Electrosynthesis of amino acids from biomass-derived α-hydroxyl acids

K. Yan, M. L. Huddleston, B. A. Gerdes and Y. Sun, Green Chem., 2022, 24, 5320 DOI: 10.1039/D2GC01779B

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