Timothée’s ChemSusChem paper tries to demonstrate how the superior adsorptive properties of porous and crystalline metal-organic framework (MOFs) offer novel and sustainable alternatives for the recovery of biobased fermentative products. This paper resulted from a collaboration with the De Vos group, Stock group (CAU, DE) and Bein group (LMU, DE).
The study focuses on biomass-derived lactic acid, an important platform chemical towards the sustainable production of numerous materials such as the biodegradable poly(lactic acid). The current fermentation process is however limited by the difficulty to recover the lactic acid product from the fermentation broth. Further, the recovery process generates stoichiometric amounts of gypsum which needs to be disposed, thereby implying costs as well as sustainability issues. Our study reveals the high affinity of lactic for open metal sites in Zr-based MOFs and how their use as adsorbent could shortcut most of the multi-step separation process in use, and avoid gypsum generation.