Acidic seawater improved 5-hydroxymethylfurfural yield from sugarcane bagasse under microwave hydrothermal liquefaction

Yuchao Shao, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Dongsheng Shen, Ying Zhou, Zhiyuan Jin, Dan Zhou, Wenjing Lu, Yuyang Long

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) as value-added platform chemical can be derived from biomass. This study used microwave hydrothermal liquefaction (MHTL) to obtain HMF from sugarcane bagasse in acidic seawater conditions. The key processing parameters including temperature, reaction time, and liquid-to-solid ratio (L/S) were evaluated and optimized. The highest HMF yield of 8.1 wt% was obtained at 149 °C with a reaction time of 4 min and a L/S value of 12:1, respectively. This yield is considerable and even higher than the yield derived from sugarcane molasses under similar microwave conditions in the absence of seawater. Hence, acidic seawater was found to promote the hydrolysis of sugarcane bagasse to give HMF precursor (i.e. fructose and glucose), while simultaneously inhibiting the conversion of HMF to levulinic acid under MHTL conditions, possibly explaining the high HMF yield. This method presents a new and sustainable means of transforming waste biomass to valuable substances using seawater or brine wastewater.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109340
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Agricultural waste
  • Microwave heating
  • Platform chemicals
  • Seawater valorization
  • Sustainable waste management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)

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