Project TitleProcess for Isolating C5 Sugars from Biomass Hydrolyzate (15015)
Track Code15015
Short DescriptionNone



Features and Benefits

  • Utilizes renewable and inexpensive materials
  • Recovers key reagent via capture and release technique Isolates target sugar in solid form by simple filtration
  • Economically feasible for biofuel production
  • Process for Isolating C5 Sugars from Biomass Hydrolyzate


*This technology is available for licensing, further development, or industrial partnering




University of Louisville researchers have developed a novel process for isolating C5 sugars from biomass hydrolyzate that yields xylose and minor quantities of arabinose as solids, both of which are widely used in food, medicinal, and industrial applications. This process, part of C5-based biorefinery initiative, is a low-cost, non-thermal process that eliminates the need for traditional high-energy consuming steps, such as evaporation, concentration, or ion exchange. This C5-based biorefinery uses "captive" high hemicellulose containing lignocellulosic feedstock as a starting material and coexists with cellulose-based biorefineries to produce high value products like bicyclopentane (BCP; a high energy density component of jet fuel), and facilitates the production of a C6-platform of products in addition to the C5-platform. The three-step xylose isolation process begins with phenylboronic acid (PBA) complexation of xylose to form furanose diester XDE, which is cleanly extracted into organic phase. The second and key step of the process precipitates a liberated xylose as D-xylopyranose to afford the monosaccharide for use in subsequent synthetic transformations. The final step of the process recovers PBA from the polymer and regenerates the polymer-diol for subsequent runs of the isolation cycle, allowing for the solvents and reagents to be recycled for multiple uses. This process effectively reduces the number of high energy consuming concentration and precipitation steps used by current methods. Further, use of inexpensive reagents and mild conditions make this technology economically feasible for biofuel production, and the selective hydrolysis process allows for isolation of arabinose and xylose as mixed or high purity sugars.



Markets Addressed


This technology has potential applications in two primary market areas:


Biofuel and Renewable Energy: The global biofuels market was valued at $82.7 billion in 2011 and is expected to double by 2021 to reach an estimated $185.3 billion. This expected increase is likely to result from higher oil prices, emerging mandates, feedstock availability, and ever-advancing technologies. Global biofuel production is expected to reach 65.7 billion gallons per year by 2021. Lack of access to inexpensive feedstocks represents a major hurdle in the biofuel industry.


Natural Sugar Alternatives: In 2014, the global sugar substitutes market was valued at $11.5 billion and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.5% to an estimated $14.3 billion by 2019. Consumer awareness, sugar prices and availability issues, increasing investment in R&D, and cost advantages provided by substitutes are contributing factors to the demand and adoption rate of substitutes.


Technology Status

  • IP Status: Patent Pending
  • Development Status: Process has been validated at lab scale
  • Publications: S. Gori, et al., “Isolation of C5-Sugars from the Hemicellulose-Rich Hydrolyzate of Distillers Dried Grains,” ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2015, Aug. 28, 2015, 3 (10), pp. 2452-2457
TagsRenewable Energy & Natural Sugar Alternatives
Posted DateMay 6, 2015 5:41 PM


Michael Nantz
Christopher Burns
Jagannadh Satyavolu
Sadakatali Gori
Ramakrishnam Mandapati


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