Carbon Support Surface Effects in the Gold-Catalyzed Oxidation of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural

Baira Donoeva*, Nazila Masoud, Petra E. de Jongh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Oxidation of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural into 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid is an important transformation for the production of bio-based polymers. Carbon-supported gold catalysts hold great promise for this transformation. Here we demonstrate that the activity, selectivity, and stability of the carbon-supported gold nanoparticles in the oxidation of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural strongly depend on the surface properties of the carbon support. Gold nanoparticles supported on basic carbon materials with a low density of functional groups demonstrate higher activity in 5-hydroxymethylfurfural oxidation (TOFAu up to 1195 h-1), higher selectivity to 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid, and better stability in comparison to gold nanoparticles supported on carbon materials with acidic surface groups. Surface groups of basic carbon supports that are positively charged under the reaction conditions result in a higher adsorption and local concentration of hydroxyl ions, which act as cocatalysts for gold and enhance gold-catalyzed dehydrogenation. Negatively charged surface groups of acidic carbons repel hydroxyls and the intermediate monoacid anions, which leads to lower reaction rates and a high selectivity toward 2,5-hydroxymethylfurancarboxylic acid. Understanding the role of support surface charge and local hydroxyl anion concentration provides a basis for the rational design of the optimal carbon support surface chemistry for highly active, selective, and stable catalysts for the oxidation of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural and related reactions. (Chemical Equation Presented).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4581-4591
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-hydroxymethylfurfural
  • carbon
  • gold nanoparticles
  • selective oxidation
  • surface functionalization

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