Synthesis of sugars by hydrolysis of hemicelluloses- A review

Päivi Mäki-Arvela, Tapio Salmi, Bjarne Holmbom, Stefan Willför, Dmitry Yu Murzin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Article or Literature Reviewpeer-review

347 Citations (Scopus)


The selective acid hydrolysis of lignocellulosic material to produce the most utilized rare sugars that can be derived directly from biomass, such as xylose, mannose, galactose, arabinose, and rhamnose is examined. The most important utilization of sugars is related to production of biofuels, such as ethanol and hydrogen through fermentation. The most important commercially utilized rare sugars are xylose, mannose, galactose, arabinose, and rhamnose, which all can be prepared via acid hydrolysis of biomass. L-Xylose can be hydrogenated or enzymatically transformed to xylitol, which is a sweetening agent and is also used for preventing tooth decay, and acute otitis. Galactitol, the sugar alcohol of galactose, is prepared by catalytic hydrogenation of galactose. It can be used as a carrier for therapeutic agents. L-Arabinose can be chemically epimerized to L-ribose in the presence of molybdenum compounds or by using xylose isomerase as a catalyst.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5638-5666
Number of pages29
JournalChemical Reviews
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2011
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


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