Methods and catalyst compositions for formation of furans from carbohydrates. A carbohydrate substrate is heating in the presence of a 2-substituted phenylboronic acid (or salt or hydrate thereof) and optionally a magnesium or calcium halide salt. The reaction is carried out in a polar aprotic solvent other than an ionic liquid, an ionic liquid or a mixture thereof. Additional of a selected amount of water to the reaction can enhance the yield of furans.
STATEMENT REGARDING GOVERNMENT FUNDING
This invention was made with government support under DE-FC02-07ER64494 awarded by the US Department of Energy and GM044783 awarded by the National Institutes of Health. The government has certain rights in the invention.