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Single step process for making high-value chemicals like xylose and arabinose from hemicellulose


Project TitleSingle step process for making high-value chemicals like xylose and arabinose from hemicellulose
Track Codencli-031
Short Description

Improved single step hydrolytic process for generating high value chemicals such as xylose and arabinose from hemicellulose



Xylose is a high value material and is used to derive xylitol which has wide range of applications – as an artificial sweetener, oral care products, food additives etc. Conventional processes to produce xylose from hemicellulose are highly corrosive and non-environmentally friendly due to use of mineral acid catalysts and the pH at which enzymes involved work. They are also expensive due to high energy input required and the erosion faced by the reactor material due to the super acidic nature of the reactions.


NCL scientists have developed a one pot, single step hydrolytic process for conversion of hemicellulose to xylose and arabinose. The process operates under milder reaction conditions (pressure range of 1-70 bar and reactor temperature of 50-250 ̊C). The reaction time is between 0.1 to 96 hours at the above mentioned milder reaction conditions


• The market size for xylitol in 2007 was around USD 300-600 million and is expected to grow by > 50% globally (as more people become health conscious)*,**

• EU accounts for 50% of world’s production of xylitol, followed by Asia (30%) and then the US (20%) **

* (cited- 01/06/2012), ** (cited- 01/06/2012)


• Raw material (hemicellulose) used is a cheap, highly available, non-edible source
• The product-catalyst separation can be done by simple filtration (heterogenous solid acid catalyst used is insoluble in the reaction medium while the products are soluble)
• The process is anti corrosive and environment friendly since water is the reaction medium and process operates at a neutral pH
• Cost effective due to the reaction being non-corrosive in nature and hence industrially applicable


• Generation of xylose, arabinose, glucose, furaldehyde, oligomers, etc. which can be further processed to produce value added chemicals such as xylitol, arabinitol, etc


• Demonstrated at the lab scale
• On the lookout for potential partners for spin-off and licensing
• Patents filed: IN# 2889DEL2010, WO/2011/092711


Case manager: Magesh N.
Phone: +91-20-2590-2982

Tagshemicellulose, high value chemicals, biomass, renewable, xylitol, xylose, Arabinose, hydrolytic process, hydrolysis
Posted DateJun 13, 2012 7:38 AM


File Name Description
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