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Ultrafast hydrolysis of inulin in supercritical water: Fructooligosaccharides reaction pathway and Jerusalem artichoke valorization

Martínez, Celia M., Adamovic, Tijana, Cantero, Danilo A., Cocero, M.J.
Industrial crops and products 2019 v.133 pp. 72-78
Jerusalem artichokes, acids, biomass, biorefining, fructooligosaccharides, fructose, hydrolysis, inulin, lignocellulose, models
In a biorefinery approach, inulin and inulin-rich biomass as Jerusalem artichoke (JA) could be transformed into platform chemicals such as fructose and/or pyruvaldehyde. To do so, the FASTSUGARS pilot plant proved to be a promising alternative for the selective conversion of biomass. In this work, inulin and JA were hydrolyzed in supercritical water (SCW) for the first time. Commercial inulin was selected as a model for fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and its reaction pathway in SCW was elucidated. It was found that fructose was the primary product from FOS hydrolysis in SCW, which was then selectively transformed into pyruvaldehyde as reaction time increased. Operating with extremely low reaction times (0.12 s) the sugars selectivity of JA was as high as 76% w/w. In both cases, the production of degradation products such as 5-HMF and acids was very low. Finally, comparing JA results to those from lignocellulosic biomass it was found that higher conversion was achieved in the case of JA due to its inulin-based composition.