One-pot catalytic conversion of microalgae (Chlorococcum sp.) into 5-hydroxymethylfurfural over the commercial H-ZSM-5 zeolite
Herein, we report a one-pot approach to produce HMF from aquatic microalgae (Chlorococcum sp.) with a yield up to 48.0% under mild reaction conditions (200 °C, 2 h) over the commercial cheap H-ZSM-5 catalyst. Conversion of microalgae to HMF involved three steps: (1) degradation of microalgae to carbohydrates; (2) hydrolysis of polysaccharides to glucose and mannose; (3) their isomerization to fructose on Lewis acid sites and its further dehydration to HMF over Brønsted acid sites. Proteins and lipids in microalgal cells play an important role in stabilizing HMF in water. Ball-milling pretreatment or addition of another organic solvent enhanced the productivity of HMF from microalgae. Besides, this cheap H-ZSM-5 catalyst also demonstrated excellent stability, and a slight loss of its activity can be easily recovered by simple calcination treatment.