Circa Group Pty Ltd
Bio21 Molecular Science
& Biotechnology Institute
30 Flemington Road, Parkville
VIC 3010 Australia
Twitter @circagroup

Tony Duncan
Chief Executive Officer

Warwick Raverty
Chief Scientist

c/o Bio 21, Flemington Road

+61 419 303 117

Circa Group is converting waste biomass into advanced biochemical materials.




Cyrene is Circa’s trade name for (-)-dihydrolevoglucosenone (1S,5R)-6,8-Dioxabicyclo[3.2.1]octan-4-one; CAS Reg. No. 53716-82-8

General properties overview:

Stability in the Presence of Bases

Cyrene is a cyclic ketone containing two protons alpha to the carbonyl group and, like cyclohexanone, it will form initially dimers and then oligomers and insoluble polymers when treated with strong bases such as sodium hydroxide, potassium carbonate and many strongly basic organic amines. Cyrene is however unchanged by heating in chloroform in the presence of triethylamine at 60oC for 18 hours.

Stability in the Presence of Acids

Cyrene is relatively stable in the presence of weak acids and, for example, can be heated with trifluoracetic acid at 60oC for 18h without apparent change. Brief treatment with aqueous 2M HCl however rapidly converts Cyrene to a mixture of products that have not yet been characterised.

Stability to Oxidizing Agents

Cyrene reacts violently with 30% aqueous hydrogen peroxide at room temperature. It will react selectively with hydrogen peroxide and peracids, such as peracetic and m-chloroperbenzoic acid under carefully controlled conditions to afford a mixture of (5S)-dihydro-5-(hydroxymethyl)-2(3H)-furanone and its formyl ester. Reactivity with other strong oxidants has not been tested and caution should be exercised whenever doing so in view of the violence of the reaction with 30% hydrogen peroxide.

Other Reactions of Cyrene™

Because dihydrolevoglucosenone has only been available in useful quantities quite recently, its chemistry remains relatively unexplored. Some useful recent investigations of the reactivity and solvent properties of Cyrene have been published by Clark et al and by Greatrex and co-workers.

Romero et al, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., (2013), 52, 2257

Allais, F. et al, Green Chem., (2015), 17, 404

Clark, J. H. et al, Chem Commun., (2014), 50, 9650

Greatrex, B. W. et al, Eur. J. Org. Chem., (2015), 6999



Cyrene (dihydrolevoglucosenone) properties as a bioactive compound, and effect observed over Salmonella enterica (S. typhimurium)

Cyrene as a bio-based alternative for dipolar aprotic solvents

James Sherwood, Mario De Bruyn, Andri Constantinou, Laurianne Moity, C. Rob McElroy, Thomas J. Farmer, Tony Duncan, Warwick Raverty, Andrew J. Hunt and James H. Clark, 2014

Dihydrolevoglucosenone (Cyrene) is a bio-based molecule, derived in two simple steps from cellulose, which demonstrates significant promise as a dipolar aprotic solvent.


Kirst L. Wilson, Alan R. Kennedy, Jane Murray, Ben Greatrex, Craig Jamieson and Allan J. B. Watson

Green and Sustainable Solvents in Chemical Processes

Coby J. Clarke, Wei-Chien Tu, Oliver Levers, Andreas Bröhl, and Jason P. Hallett

Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom