AbstractThe degradation kinetics of monosaccharides during sulfurous acid treatment was compared to hydrochloric acid and to sulfuric acid treatments. Reaction conditions corresponded to the range found in previous research to allow for the production of hemicelluloses-derived monosaccharides through hydrolysis of wood. Degradation behavior of monosaccharides during treatment with each acid was expressed by a second-order reaction rate constant with respect to substrate and acid concentrations, and the activation energy and frequency factor were calculated using the Arrhenius equation. Results demonstrated that the second-order reaction rate of a monosaccharide was dependent on the type of acid, indicating that monosaccharides degrade at different rates under different acids, even when the molar concentration of the acid is the same. The degradation of monosaccharides in sulfurous acid was much slower than that in hydrochloric acid and in sulfuric acid. A comparison of two sequential treatments with sulfuric acid, with and without the bisulfite ion, showed that sulfurous acid has a protective effect on the degradation of monosaccharides.