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Table 2 Prioritized sugar-derived building blocks as listed by the US Department of Energy. Adapted from [62].

From: Potential and utilization of thermophiles and thermostable enzymes in biorefining

Building blocks Carbons Pathways Derivatives Direct uses or uses of derivatives
1,4 diacids (succinic, fumaric, and malic) 4 Aerobic fermentation to overproduce C4 diacids from Krebs cycle patways THF, 1,4-Butanediol, γ-butyrolactone, pyrrolidones, esters, diamines, 4,4-Bionelle, hydroxybutyric acid, unsaturated succinate derivatives, hydroxy succinate derivatives, hydroxybutyrolactone Green solvents, Fibers (lycra, others), TBD, water soluble polymers
2,5-furan dicarboxylic acid 6 Oxidative dehydration of C6 sugars (chemical) Enzymatic conversion? Numerous furan derivatives, succinate, esters, levulinic acid, furanoic polyamines, polyethylene terephthalate analogs Furanoic polysters (bottles, films containers) Polyamides (new nylons)
3-hydroxypropionic acid 3 Aerobic fermentation Acrylates, Acrylamides, esters, 1,3-propanediol, malonic acid, propionol, Sorona fiber, contact lenses, diapers (super absorbent polymers)
Aspartic acid 4 Conversion of oxaloacetate in the Krebs cycle via aerobic fermentation or enzymatic conversion Amine butanediol, amine tetrahydrofuran, amine-butyrolactone, aspartic anhydride, polyaspartic, various substituted amino-diacids Amino analogs of C4 1,4 dicarboxylic acids Pharma and sweetener intermediates
Glucaric acid 6 One step nitric acid oxidation of starch (chemical) Aerobic fermentation Dilactones, monolactones, polyglucaric esters and amides Solvents, nylons of different properties
Glutamic acid 5 Aerobic fermentation Diols, amino diols, diacids, glutaric acid, substituted pyrrolidones Monomers for polyesters and polyamides
Itaconic acid 5 Aerobic fungal fermentation Methyl butanediol, butyrolactone, tetrahydrofuran family, pyrrolidones, polyitaconic Solvents, polymers (BDO, GBL, THF), nitrile latex
Levulinic acid 5 Acid catalyzed decomposition of cellulosics and sugars Biotransformation? δ-aminolevulinate, Methyl tetrahydrofuran, δ-butyrolactone, acetyl acrylates, acetic-acrylic succinic acids, diphenolic acid Fuel oxygenates, solvents, polycarbonate synthesis
3-hydroxybutyrolactone 4 Oxidative degradation of starch Biotransformation? Hydroxybutyrates, epoxy-δ-butyrolactone, butenoic acid, furans, analogs for pyrrolidones High value pharma compounds, solvents, amino analogs to lycra fibers
Glycerol 5 Enzymatic or chemical transesterification of oils Fermentation products, propylene glycol, 1,3-propanediol, diacids, propylalcohol, dialdehyde, epoxides, glyceric acids, branched polysters and polyols Personal/oral care products, pharmaceuticals, foods/beverages, polyether polyols, antifreeze, humectant
Sorbitol 6 Hydrogenation of glucose (chemical) Aerobic fermentation or biotransformation Ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, glycerol, lactic acid, isosorbide, branched polysaccharides Polyethylene isosorbide, terephthalates (bottles), antifreeze, PLA (polylactic acid), water soluble polymers
Xylitol/arabinitol 5 Aerobic or anaerobic fermentations or enzymatic conversions of lignocellulose Ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, glycerol, lactic acid, hydroxy furans, xylaric acid, polyols Non-nutritive sweeteners, anhydrosugars, unsaturated polyster resins, antifreeze