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Highly selective production of propionic acid from lactic acid catalyzed by NaI

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Abstract

Propionic acid (PA), a valuable chemical widely used in the food and feed industry, is currently produced by the petrochemical industry. Selective production of PA from bio-based lactic acid (LA) is difficult due to the high activation energy of the hydroxyl group at the α position of the carboxyl group. Herein, a metal-free catalytic system for the highly selective transformation of bio-based LA to PA, which was used as the solvent to simplify the separation step, is reported using NaI as the catalyst. Under the optimal reaction conditions, a >99% yield of PA can be obtained from LA. A heat-induced radical-activated hydrogen mechanism was proposed based on the kinetic study and intermediate capture. The metal-free system can be reused five times without any loss in activity, and the PA product is easily separated. In addition, a two-step method using cellulose as the raw material to produce PA was conducted. This strategy offers a green and efficient approach to synthesize PA from biomass resources.

Graphical abstract: Highly selective production of propionic acid from lactic acid catalyzed by NaI

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
04 Aug 2020
Accepted
23 Sep 2020
First published
24 Sep 2020

Green Chem., 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

Highly selective production of propionic acid from lactic acid catalyzed by NaI

S. Liu, H. Feng, T. Li, Y. Wang, N. Rong and W. Yang, Green Chem., 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0GC02676J

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