(560as) The Use of Aqueous Ethanol As a Solvent for the Catalytic Hydrogenation of Lactose to Lactitol

Kasick, A. - Presenter, Ohio University
Lee, S., Ohio University
The selection of a solvent can be particularly influential for performing three-phase hydrogenation reactions, where gaseous hydrogen and liquid phase reactant react over a solid catalyst. Descriptions in the literature indicate that the hydrogenation of sugar compounds such as glucose and xylose, via the reduction of the sugar compound’s carbonyl group using hydrogen, can be promoted by the selection of aqueous alcohol rather than water as a solvent. Thus far, this line of research has not been explored regarding the hydrogenation of lactose to lactitol.

As a major component of waste streams from the dairy industry, upgrading lactose to valuable commodities by chemical processing would help incentivize sustainable handling of this material. At Ohio University’s Sustainable Energy and Advanced Materials Laboratory (SEAM Lab), an experimental process system has been designed and constructed to perform batch-wise hydrogenation reactions, and work is underway to perform lactose hydrogenation in pure water and aqueous ethanol solutions. This research will contribute to the study of the solvent effect in the hydrogenation of sugar compounds, and will evaluate the feasibility for potential enhancements to dairy waste processing.