Ionic Liquids
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Coordinating ionic liquids - efficient solvents for dissolution and processing of biomass

Profit from proionic's biomass dissolution kit
Coordinating Ionic liquids - efficient solvents for dissolution and processing of biomass

The ability of ILs to directly dissolve biological macromolecules, such as cellulose, lignin, hemicellulose, chitin, silk fibroin, wool keratin, etc., has generated intense worldwide academic and industrial interest in a relatively short period of time. Selective to complete dissolution of these biological macromolecules using ILs can now be carried out under unmatched mild conditions, without evaporation of solvent molecules, and the ILs can be easily recycled and reused. Moreover, in general there is no significant decrease in the molecular mass of the regenerated macromolecules and chemical modifications of the dissolved macromolecules can easily be conducted with ILs suitable to the reaction conditions. All these advantages make the dissolution of macromolecules with ILs a desirable and promising process (H.Wang et al. 2014).

Advantages of ionic liquids as solvents
  • Greener alternatives to volatile, environmentally undesirable organic solvents
  • Uncomplicated and safe handling compared to conventional solvents
  • Dissolve a wide range of biopolymers
  • Excellent chemical & thermal stability & non-flammability
  • Can easily be recycled and reused
  • Selective to complete dissolution of biological macromolecules under mild conditions
  • Chemical modification of macromolecules can easily be conducted in suitable IL solution

The first application of ILs in processing biomass was the dissolution of pure cellulose using imidazolium ILs. Since then, studies on the application of ILs in biomass chemistry have made great progress and now many ILs have been found to be able to dissolve biopolymers. A given type of IL might dissolve quite different biopolymers (H.Wang et al.2014).

550 €* for 6 x 100 g

proionic now offers a KIT of six diverse ionic liquids with varied dissolution power and selectivity to biopolymers (see the table below). It also contains second-generation biobased ILs such as Cholinium-L-lysinat or Cholinium acetate, standing out due their high-biodegradability, low toxicity and high enzyme stabilization potential.

Cholinium-L-lysinat (Chol-Lys) (biobased)
Cholinium acetate (Chol-OAc) (biobased)
1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate (EMIM-OAc)
1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate (BMIM-OAc)
1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium propionate (EMIM-OPr)
1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium diethylphosphate (EMIM-DEP)

If you are interested in this special offer or bigger quantities of these candidates, please contact Bernhard Ludwig, Head of Sales at
IL CAS Tm α β π* Comment Lit
Chol-Lys 1361335-94-5 < RT n.a.
1.31 (90°C)
0.64 (90°C)
Medium H-bond disruptor, strongly basic 1
Chol-OAc 14586-35-7 85 °C


(90 °C)

1.22 (90°C)  0.76 (90°C) Medium H-bond disruptor, mildly basic 1
EMIM-OAc 143314-17-4 - 20 °C 0.47
0.51 (90°C)
1.23 (90°C)
0.91 (90°C)
Strong H-bond disruptor, mildly basic 1,2,3,4
BMIM-OAc 284049-75-8 - 20 °C 0.44  1.09  0.96 Strong H-bond disruptor, mildly basic 2,5
EMIM-OPr 865627-64-1 < RT 0.54  1.09  0.96 Strong H-bond disruptor, mildly basic 5
EMIM-DEP 848641-69-0 < RT 0.47  1.07  1.09 Strong H-bond disruptor, neutral 6,7

Tm Melting point; α, β, π* Kamlet-Taft solvent parameters (Jessop et al., Green Chem., 2012, 14, 1245). All data shown for room temperature, if not stated otherwise. Literature: [1] Green Chem., 2014, 16, 2546. [2] Russ. J. Gen. Chem. 79, 125–128 (2009. [3] Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013, 15, 20480. [4] Russ. J. Gen. Chem. 80, 501–506 (2010). [5] ChemSusChem (2013), 6(11), 2161-2169. [6] Chem. Commun., 2009, 6297-6299. [7] Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2016), 120(32), 7906-7919.

Literature focussing on Ionic liquid based biomass dissolution:

  • “Dissolution of Biomass Using Ionic Liquids”, Hui Wang, Gabriela Gurau, and Robin D. Rogers; Structure and Bonding (Berlin, Germany, 2014, 151 (Structures and Interactions of Ionic Liquids), 79-105; DOI:10.1007/978-3-642-38619-0_3
  • “A Review on the Partial and Complete Dissolution and Fractionation of Wood and Lignocelluloses Using Imidazolium Ionic Liquids”, Hatem Abushammala and Jia Mao; Polymers 2020, 12, 195; DOI: 10.3390/polym12010195
  • “Towards a molecular understanding of cellulose dissolution in ionic liquids: anion/cation effect, synergistic mechanism and physicochemical aspects”, Yao Li et al.; Chem. Sci., 2018, 9, 4027–4043; DOI: 10.1039/c7sc05392d
  • "Understanding pretreatment efficacy of four cholinium and imidazolium ionic liquids by chemistry and computation”, Ning Sun et al.; Green Chem., 2014, 16, 2546; DOI: 10.1039/c3gc42401d
  • "Biocatalysis and Biomass Conversion in Alternative Reaction Media”, Roger A. Sheldon; Chem. Eur. J. 2016, 22, 12984 – 12999; DOI: 10.1002/chem.201601940
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