The microwave-assisted heating reaction of N-acetyl glucosamine (GlcNAc) in sulfolane is described. The reaction produces two major products that are assignable to 1,6-anhydro-2-acetamido-2-deoxy-β-d-glucopyranose (AGPNAc) and 1,6-anhydro-2-acetamido-2-deoxy-β-d-glucofuranose (AGFNAc). In order to reveal a general feature of the system, the 3, 5, and 10 min reactions were performed at 140, 160, 180, 200, and 220 ◦C to clarify the time course changes in the conversion of GlcNAc and the yields of the two produced 1,6-anhydrosugars. Temperature is a crucial factor that significantly affects the conversion of GlcNAc. The yields of AGPNAc and AGFNAc are also drastically changed depending on the reaction conditions. The 5-min reaction at 200 ◦C is shown to be the optimal condition to generate the 1,6-anhydrosugars with a high efficiency in which AGPNAc and AGFNAc are produced in the yields of 21% and 44%, respectively. Consequently, the microwave-assisted heating reaction of GlcNAc in sulfolane is shown to be a simple and promising pathway to generate 1,6-anhydrosugars consisting of amino monosaccharide backbones, which have high potentials as raw materials leading to biological oligosaccharides and biomimetic polysaccharides.
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