The Kiliani reaction, i.e. the elongation of the carbon chain by means of cyanide addition to the carbonyl group of carbohydrate derivatives, is studied on lower C3-, C4- and C6-ketoses under continuous flow conditions. Depending on the process parameters, the corresponding cyanohydrins or α-hydroxycarboxylic acids are obtained. A simple on-line purification of the effluent is studied using cation exchange resins. Reactions provide high yields and selectivity within short residence times, emphasizing the assets of the continuous flow process versus the batch process.
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