I need to know how to go about creating synthetic glucose with generally available materials. As I am aware of both photosynthesis and glucose in nature, I will not need lessons in how plants produce it. So, how may glucose be produced by artificial means?

  • $\begingroup$ Follow up question: is there a simple process starting from inorganics like CO2 and H2O (ie no biomass feedstock)? $\endgroup$ Jun 6, 2018 at 2:05

1 Answer 1


A relatively simple process is described by Kobayashi et. al where they use cellulose, a structural component of plants, which is ball milled, mixed with activated carbons and HCl and hydrolysed to produce glucose in high yield (88%).

It requires only easily available ingredients and the ability to heat (and preferably stir) to 453K. Reference is given below.

High-Yielding One-Pot Synthesis of Glucose from Cellulose Using Simple Activated Carbons and Trace Hydrochloric Acid Hirokazu Kobayashi, Mizuho Yabushita, Tasuku Komanoya, Kenji Hara, Ichiro Fujita, and Atsushi Fukuoka ACS Catalysis 2013 3 (4), 581-587 DOI: 10.1021/cs300845f

  • $\begingroup$ I don't have access to that reference, but do you happen to know if the process leads to the natural blend of glucose isomers (left and right hand glucose)? $\endgroup$
    – docscience
    May 27, 2015 at 19:44
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @docscience Cellulose is a polymer of many β-D-glucopyranose groups, but glucose anomerizes in solution, so you'll get a mix of α-D-glucopyranose and β-D-glucopyranose (approximately 1:2, if you leave it long enough). If by "left and right hand" you mean D- and L-glucose, then no—L-glucose is not naturally ocurring, with the exception of a few bacteria, and thus cellulose built on L-glucose does not exist. $\endgroup$ May 28, 2015 at 17:02

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