(19)
(11)EP 4 079 727 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
26.10.2022 Bulletin 2022/43

(21)Application number: 22175837.8

(22)Date of filing:  14.09.2017
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
C07D 291/06(2006.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
A23L 27/30; C07D 291/06
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 21.09.2016 US 201662397540 P

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
19205119.1 / 3623363
17772249.3 / 3317260

(71)Applicant: Celanese International Corporation
Irving, TX 75039 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • MOLLENKOPF, Christoph
    65929 Frankfurt am Main (DE)
  • GROER, Peter
    64832 Babenhausen (DE)
  • YADAV, Arvind
    65835 Liederbach am Taunus (DE)

(74)Representative: Kinkeldey, Daniela 
Bird & Bird LLP Maximiliansplatz 22
80333 München
80333 München (DE)

 
Remarks:
This application was filed on 27-05-2022 as a divisional application to the application mentioned under INID code 62.
 


(54)ACESULFAME POTASSIUM COMPOSITIONS AND PROCESSES FOR PRODUCING SAME


(57) Improved processes for producing high purity acesulfame potassium. In one embodiment, the process comprises the steps of contacting a solvent, e.g., dichloromethane, and a cyclizing agent, e.g., sulfur trioxide, to form a cyclizing agent composition and reacting an acetoacetamide salt with the cyclizing agent in the composition to form a cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct. The contact time is less than 60 minutes. The process also comprises forming from the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct composition a finished acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated, e.g., non-chlorinated, acesulfame potassium and less than 35 wppm 5-halo acesulfame potassium, preferably less than 5 wppm.


Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION



[0001] This application relates to and claims priority to US Provisional Patent Application No. 62/397,540, filed September 21, 2016, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF INVENTION



[0002] The present invention relates generally to acesulfame potassium and to processes for producing acesulfame potassium. More specifically, the present invention relates to processes for producing high purity acesulfame potassium.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



[0003] Acesulfame potassium has an intense, sweet taste and has been used in many food-related applications as a sweetener. In conventional acesulfame potassium production processes, sulfamic acid and an amine, e.g., triethylamine, are reacted to form an amidosulfamic acid salt, such as a trialkyl ammonium amidosulfamic acid salt. The amidosulfamic acid salt is then reacted with diketene to form an acetoacetamide salt. The acetoacetamide salt may be cyclized, hydrolyzed, and neutralized to form acesulfame potassium. US Patent Nos. 5,744,010 and 9,024,016 disclose exemplary acesulfame potassium production processes.

[0004] Typically, the acetoacetamide salt intermediate is cyclized by reaction with sulfur trioxide in an inorganic or organic solvent to form a cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct. The solvent routinely utilized in this reaction is an organic solvent such as a halogenated, aliphatic hydrocarbon solvent, for example, dichloromethane. The adduct formed by this reaction is subsequently hydrolyzed and then neutralized with potassium hydroxide to form acesulfame potassium.

[0005] Acesulfame potassium and the intermediate compositions produced by conventional methods contain undesirable impurities, such as 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium. Limits for the content of various impurities are often set by governmental regulations or customer guidelines. Due to their similar chemical structures and properties, separation of 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium from the desired non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium, using standard purification procedures such as crystallization has proven difficult, resulting in consumer dissatisfaction and the failure to meet regulatory standards.

[0006] The need exists for an improved process for producing high purity acesulfame potassium compositions in which the formation of 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium during synthesis is reduced or eliminated.

[0007] All of the references discussed herein are hereby incorporated by reference.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0008] The application discloses processes for producing a finished acesulfame potassium composition, the process comprising the steps of: contacting a solvent and a cyclizing agent to form a cyclizing agent composition, reacting an acetoacetamide salt with the cyclizing agent in the cyclizing agent composition to form a cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct, and forming from the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium and less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, e.g., from 0.001 wppm to 2.7 wppm 5-chloro -acesulfame potassium. Contact time from the beginning of contacting step to the beginning of the reacting step is less than 60 minutes. The forming of the finished acesulfame potassium composition may comprise: hydrolyzing the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form an acesulfame-H composition comprising acesulfame-H, neutralizing the acesulfame-H in the acesulfame-H composition to form a crude acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium and less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, and forming the finished acesulfame potassium composition from the crude acesulfame potassium composition. The finished acesulfame potassium composition may comprise from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium. In some cases, the contact time is less than 15 minutes and the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium and the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium. In one embodiment, the contact time is less than 5 minutes and the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium and the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 2.7 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium. The finished acesulfame potassium composition may comprise at least 90% by weight of the 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium present in the crude acesulfame potassium composition. In some case, the hydrolyzing comprises adding water to the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form a hydrolysis reaction mixture, and wherein the temperature of the hydrolysis reaction mixture is maintained at a temperature ranging from -35 °C to 0 °C. The finished acesulfame potassium composition may comprise from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm organic impurities and/or from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm heavy metals. Preferably, the process further comprises the steps of reacting sulfamic acid and an amine to form an amidosulfamic acid salt, and reacting the amidosulfamic acid salt and acetoacetylating agent to form the acetoacetamide salt. The cyclizing agent composition may comprise less than 1 wt% of compounds selected from chloromethyl chlorosulfate, methyl-bis-chlorosulfate, and mixtures thereof. The reacting is conducted for a cyclization reaction time, from the start of the reactant feed to the end of the reactant feed, less than 35 minutes. The weight ratio of solvent to cyclizing agent in the cyclizing agent composition may be at least 1:1. The processes may further comprise cooling the cyclizing agent composition to a temperature less than 15°C. Preferably, the cyclizing agent comprises sulfur trioxide and the solvent comprises dichloromethane. In one embodiment, the processes comprise the steps of: reacting sulfamic acid and triethylamine to form an amidosulfamic acid salt, reacting the amidosulfamic acid salt and diketene to form the acetoacetamide salt, contacting dichloromethane and a sulfur trioxide to form a cyclizing agent composition (optionally cooling the cyclizing agent composition to a temperature less than 15°C), reacting the acetoacetamide salt with the sulfur trioxide in the cyclizing agent composition to form a cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct, hydrolyzing the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form an acesulfame-H composition, and neutralizing the acesulfame-H to form the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium and less than 10 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, and contact time from the beginning of step (a) to the beginning of step (b) may be less than 10 minutes. The application also describes crude, intermediate, and finished acesulfame potassium composition produced by the processes described herein, e.g., a finished acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium, from 0.001 wppm to 2.7 wppm 5-chloro acesulfame potassium, and from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm heavy metals.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0009] The invention is described in detail below with reference to the appended drawing.

[0010] FIG. 1 is a process flow sheet of an acesulfame potassium production process in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION


Introduction



[0011] Conventional processes for producing acesulfame potassium involve reacting sulfamic acid and an amine in the presence of acetic acid to form an amidosulfamic acid salt. The amidosulfamic acid salt is then reacted with an acetoacetylating agent, e.g., diketene, to form an acetoacetamide salt. The acetoacetamide salt is reacted with a cyclizing agent, e.g., sulfur trioxide, to form a cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct. The cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct is then hydrolyzed and neutralized via conventional means to form a crude acesulfame potassium composition comprising acesulfame potassium. This composition is phase separated into aqueous and organic phases. Most of the acesulfame potassium separates into the aqueous phase. As used herein, the term "crude acesulfame potassium composition" refers to the initial product of the neutralization reaction or to the aqueous phase that is formed from the phase separation step (without any further purification). The crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises at least 5 wt% acesulfame potassium. The crude acesulfame potassium composition may be optionally treated to form an "intermediate acesulfame potassium composition" and/or a "finished acesulfame potassium composition," which are discussed below.

[0012] Conventional acesulfame potassium compositions have been shown to comprise several undesirable impurities, among them 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium and acetoacetamide. Content limits for these compounds in the finished acesulfame potassium composition are often determined by industry purity standards and/or by standards established for particular end use products that utilize acesulfame potassium as a sweetener. In some cases, limits for these impurities are determined by governmental regulations. For most applications, high acesulfame potassium purity levels are preferred. Because the chemical structure of 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium is similar to that of non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium, separation of 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium using standard purification procedures such as crystallization has proven difficult.

[0013] Without being bound by theory, it has now been discovered that the reaction of the cyclizing agent with the acetoacetamide salt to form the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct may also involve side reactions that form the 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium impurity.

[0014] The use of specific reaction parameters, however, may advantageously reduce or eliminate 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium formation or the formation of its precursor, 5-chloro-acesulfame-H. In particular, it has now been discovered that limiting contact time, as discussed below, surprisingly reduces or eliminates 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium formation in the crude, intermediate, and/or finished acesulfame potassium compositions. In addition, the reduced impurity levels in these acesulfame potassium compositions reduce or eliminate the need for additional purification steps, resulting in overall improved process efficiency.

[0015] It is postulated that the contacting of the cyclizing agent, the solvent, and optionally other components may lead to the formation of chlorine/chloride-containing compounds. Exemplary cyclizing agent/solvent reaction products include halogen-containing compounds such as chlorine/chloride-containing compounds, e.g., chlorosulfates. These compounds, in turn, may react to chlorinate the acesulfame precursor acid, acesulfame-H, sometimes referred to as sweetener acid, or its precursors, e.g., acetoacetamide-N-sulfonate. By limiting the contact time, lower amounts of chlorine/chloride-containing compounds are formed, e.g., chlorosulfates, are formed (as compared to the amount formed when longer contact times are employed). That is, shorter contact times have now been shown to retard the formation of chlorine/chloride-containing compounds, e.g., chlorosulfates. As a result of the shorter contact times, in one embodiment, the cyclizing agent composition may have a low chlorine/chloride-containing compound content, e.g., a low chlorosulfate content, as discussed herein. The reduction or elimination of chlorine/chloride-containing compounds directly leads to the formation of higher purity crude acesulfame potassium compositions discussed herein, thereby simplifying subsequent treatment operations for forming the intermediate or finished acesulfame potassium compositions. The process also advantageously leads to the formation of intermediate and finished acesulfame potassium compositions having low 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium content.

[0016] Additional specific terms that are used herein are now defined. "Contact time," as used herein, refers to the time period that the solvent contacts the cyclizing agent before formation of the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct. Thus, contact time begins when at least some of the solvent contacts at least some the cyclizing agent to form the cyclizing agent/solvent mixture ("cyclizing agent composition"), and contact time ends when the acetoacetamide salt first contacts the cyclizing agent in the cyclizing agent composition.

[0017] "Residence time," as used herein, refers to the time period that a composition (or stream) to be treated, e.g., a crude acesulfame potassium composition, remains in a particular treatment operation. Residence time begins when the composition to be treated enters the treatment operation, and residence time ends when the resultant compositions (formed via the treatment) exit the treatment operation. As one particular example, residence time for a concentrating operation, e.g., evaporation, refers to the time from when a crude acesulfame potassium composition enters the evaporator until the intermediate acesulfame potassium composition exits the evaporator. As another example, residence time for a separating operation, e.g., crystallization, refers to the time from when a crude acesulfame potassium composition enters the crystallizer until the intermediate acesulfame potassium composition exits the crystallizer.

[0018] "Cyclization reaction time," as used herein, refers to the time from the start of the acetoacetamide salt feed to the termination of the acetoacetamide salt feed. In some cases, if indicated, the cyclization reaction time may include additional time past the termination of the acetoacetamide salt feed, e.g., an extra 5 minutes or an extra minute.

[0019] "5-chloro-acesulfame potassium," as used herein, refers to the following molecule:



[0020] "Acetoacetamide," as used herein, refers to the following molecule:



[0021] "Acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid" as used herein, refers to the molecule shown below. In some cases, acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid may be a degradation product of acesulfame potassium or acesulfame-H. The term "acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid," as used herein, also includes salts of acetoacetamide-N-sulfamic acid, e.g., potassium, sodium, and other alkali metal salts.



[0022] An "intermediate acesulfame potassium composition" refers to a composition resulting from the concentrating of the crude acesulfame potassium composition, e.g., the removal of water from the crude acesulfame potassium composition. The intermediate acesulfame potassium composition comprises at least 10 wt% acesulfame potassium, based on the total weight of the intermediate acesulfame potassium composition, and has an acesulfame potassium weight percentage that is higher than that of the crude acesulfame potassium composition.

[0023] A "finished acesulfame potassium composition" refers to a composition (preferably directly) resulting from the separating, e.g., crystallizing and/or filtering, of the intermediate acesulfame potassium composition, e.g. no further process steps are preferably conducted after the separating of the intermediate acesulfame potassium composition in order to obtain the finished acesulfame potassium composition. The finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises at least 15 wt% acesulfame potassium, based on the total weight percentage of the finished acesulfame potassium composition, and has an acesulfame potassium weight percentage that is higher than that of the intermediate acesulfame potassium composition.

[0024] "Wppm" and "wppb," as used herein, mean weight parts per million or weight parts per billion, respectively. These are based on the total weight of the respective composition, e.g., the total weight of the entire crude acesulfame potassium composition or the entire finished acesulfame potassium composition.

Acesulfame Potassium Formation (Contact Time)



[0025] Processes for producing acesulfame potassium exhibiting high purity levels are described herein. In one embodiment, the process comprises the steps of contacting a solvent and a cyclizing agent to form a cyclizing agent composition and reacting an acetoacetamide salt with the cyclizing agent (in the cyclizing agent composition) to form a cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct. Importantly, the contact time is less than 60 minutes. The process also comprises forming a finished acesulfame potassium composition from the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct composition.

[0026] The contacting of the solvent and the cyclizing agent is contemplated broadly. In some embodiments, the contacting methods include the addition of solvent to cyclizing agent, the addition of cyclizing agent to solvent. The components may be fed, e.g., simultaneously fed to a vessel. Addition/mixing and/or co-feeding (optionally simultaneous) of these components are contemplated.

[0027] The reaction of the acetoacetamide salt and the cyclizing agent may be conducted by contacting the two reactants. The reactants may be fed, e.g., simultaneously fed to a vessel. In one embodiment, the acetoacetamide salt may be added to the cyclizing agent in the cyclizing agent composition. The cyclizing agent in the cyclizing agent composition may be added to the acetoacetamide salt. Addition/mixing and/or co-feeding (optionally simultaneous) of the reactants are also contemplated. In one embodiment, the cyclizing agent composition may be contained in a vessel and the acetoacetamide salt may be added to the cyclizing agent composition, e.g., added drop-wise to the cyclizing agent composition.

[0028] In some embodiments, contact time is less than 60 minutes, e.g., less than 45 minutes, less than 30 minutes, less than 15 minutes, less than 10 minutes, less than 8 minutes, less than 5 minutes, less than 3 minutes, or less than 1 minute. In one embodiment, the solvent and cyclizing agent are mixed and immediately reacted with the acetoacetamide salt. In terms of ranges, contact time may range from 1 second to 60 minutes, e.g., from 1 second to 45 minutes, from 1 second to 30 minutes, from 1 second to 15 minutes, from 1 second to 10 minutes, from 1 minute to 45 minutes, from 1 minute to 30 minutes, from 1 minute to 15 minutes, from 1 minute to 10 minutes, from 10 seconds to 45 minutes, from 10 seconds to 30 minutes, from 30 seconds to 30 minutes, from 1 minute to 10 minutes, from 3 minutes to 10 minutes, or from 5 minutes to 10 minutes. Contact time may be at least 1 second, e.g., at least 5 seconds, at least 30 seconds, at least 1 minute, at least 5 minutes, at least 10 minutes, at least 15 minutes, or at least 30 minutes.

[0029] By limiting the contact time as discussed herein, fewer cyclizing agent/solvent reaction products, e.g., chlorosulfates, are formed. The cyclizing agent composition, for example, may have a low cyclizing agent/solvent reaction product content, e.g., a low chlorosulfate content. For example, the cyclizing agent composition may comprise less than 1 wt% cyclizing agent/solvent reaction product, e.g., less than 0.75 wt%, less than 0.5 wt%, less than 0.25 wt%, less than 0.1 wt%, less than 0.05 wt%, or less than 0.01 wt%. In terms of ranges, the cyclizing agent composition may comprise from 1 ppm to 1 wt% cyclizing agent/solvent reaction products, e.g., from 10 ppm to 1 wt%, from 10 ppm to 0.75 wt%, from 10 ppm to 0.5 wt%, from 10 ppm to 0.25 wt%, from 100 ppm to 0.75 wt%, from 100 ppm to 0.5 wt%, or from 100 ppm to 0.25 wt%. These ranges and limits apply to cyclizing agent/solvent reaction products generally and to specific reaction products generally, e.g., chloromethyl chlorosulfate, methyl-bis-chlorosulfate, and combinations thereof.

[0030] Exemplary chlorosulfates include chloromethyl chlorosulfate and methyl-bis-chlorosulfate. These reaction products may be formed when a chlorine-containing solvent is employed. In one embodiment, the cyclizing agent composition comprises less than 1 wt% chloromethyl chlorosulfate and/or methyl-bis-chlorosulfate, e.g., less than 0.75 wt%, less than 0.5 wt%, less than 0.25 wt%, less than 0.1 wt%, less than 0.05 wt%, or less than 0.01 wt%. In one embodiment, the cyclizing agent composition comprises less than 1 wt% chloromethyl chlorosulfate, e.g., less than 0.75 wt%, less than 0.5 wt%, less than 0.25 wt%, less than 0.1 wt%, less than 0.05 wt%, or less than 0.01 wt%. In one embodiment, the cyclizing agent composition comprises less than 1 wt% methyl-bis-chlorosulfate, e.g., less than 0.75 wt%, less than 0.5 wt%, less than 0.25 wt%, less than 0.1 wt%, less than 0.05 wt%, or less than 0.01 wt%.

[0031] In one embodiment, the solvent and cyclizing agent are combined in a first vessel, e.g., a first reactor, to form a cyclizing agent composition, which optionally may be cooled. The cyclizing agent composition may then be added to the acetoacetamide salt in a second reactor. In one embodiment, the first vessel is chilled, e.g., to temperature below 35°C, prior to combining the solvent and cyclizing agent. In some cases, the cyclizing agent and the solvent are cooled individually and then fed to the reaction with the acetoacetamide salt, optionally followed by additional cooling. In one embodiment, the first vessel itself is chilled, e.g., to a temperature below 15°C, prior to contacting the solvent and cyclizing agent, which leads to the cooling of the solvent and the cyclization that may be added to the first vessel. In some cases, the cyclizing agent and the solvent are cooled individually and then combined and fed to the reaction with the acetoacetamide salt.

[0032] In some cases, the process comprises the steps of providing a cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct composition comprising less than 1 wt% cyclizing agent/solvent reaction products, e.g., chloromethyl chlorosulfate and/or methyl-bis-chlorosulfate, and forming the acesulfame potassium composition from the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct composition. The providing of the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct composition may vary widely as long as the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct composition has the required cyclizing agent/solvent reaction product content. The cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct composition optionally is formed using any of the methods described herein.

[0033] In some embodiments, the cyclizing agent composition is provided at a low temperature and/or is cooled to yield a cooled cyclizing agent composition having a low temperature. The cooling or the providing of the low temperature cyclizing agent composition may be achieved through any of a variety of different cooling techniques. For example, the cooling step may be achieved by using one or more heat exchangers, refrigeration units, air cooling units, water cooling units, or a cooling medium, such as liquid nitrogen or other cryogenics. If heat exchangers are employed, a water/glycol mixture is a preferable exchange medium, with brine being a suitable alternative.

[0034] In some embodiments, the cyclizing agent composition is provided at or is cooled to a temperature less than 15°C, e.g., less than 12°C, less than 11°C, less than 10°C, less than 8°C, less than 5°C, less than 3°C, less than 1°C, or less than 0°C. In terms of ranges, the cyclization agent composition is cooled to a temperature ranging from -20°C to 15°C, e.g., from -15°C to 15°C, from - 10°C to 12°C, from -8°C to 10°C, or -8°C to 5°C. In some embodiments, the cooling step reduces the temperature of the cyclizing agent composition (as provided), e.g., by at least 2°C, at least 3°C, at least 5°C, at least 10°C, at least 15°C, at least 20°C, or at least 25°C.

[0035] In one embodiment, only the cyclizing agent (e.g., without solvent) is cooled, and then the cooled cyclizing agent is mixed with the solvent to form the cyclizing agent composition, which is then reacted with the acetoacetamide salt. That is, in some cases, the solvent (if present) may not be cooled in the same manner as the cyclizing agent is cooled. In other embodiments, the solvent is cooled prior to being mixed with the cyclizing agent to form the cyclizing agent composition, optionally followed by additional cooling of the resulting cyclizing agent composition.

[0036] In some cases, the cooling is implemented via multiple cooling steps. For example, the solvent may be cooled to a first temperature, then combined with the cyclizing agent to form the cyclizing agent composition, which is then further cooled to a second temperature, which is less than the first temperature. In some embodiments, the cyclizing agent is cooled to a first temperature, the solvent is cooled to a second temperature, and the cooled cyclizing agent and the cooled solvent are combined and optionally cooled to a third temperature, which is less than the first and second temperatures. These cooling schemes are merely exemplary and are not intended to limit the scope of the cooling step.

[0037] It has also been discovered that if cyclization reaction time is minimized, the formation of impurities, e.g., organic impurities, such as 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, is reduced or eliminated. In some embodiments, the cyclization reaction is conducted for a cyclization reaction time, less than 35 minutes, e.g., less than 30 minutes, less than 25 minutes, less than 20 minutes, less than 15 minutes, or less than 10 minutes. In terms of ranges, the cyclization reaction may be conducted for a cyclization reaction time ranging from 1 second to 35 minutes, e.g., from 10 seconds to 25 minutes, from 30 seconds to 15 minutes, or from 1 minute to 10 minutes.

[0038] The cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct may be subjected to one or more steps to form the finished acesulfame potassium composition. In some cases, the formation of the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises the steps of hydrolyzing (at least some of) the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form an acesulfame-H composition comprising acesulfame-H and neutralizing the acesulfame-H in the acesulfame-H composition to form a crude acesulfame potassium composition.

[0039] Crude acesulfame compositions may be treated to form intermediate acesulfame potassium compositions and (subsequently) finished acesulfame compositions, and this treatment operation may include one or more concentrating or separating operations.

[0040] For example, the treatment operation may comprise concentrating the crude acesulfame potassium composition to form a water stream and an intermediate acesulfame potassium composition and then separating the intermediate acesulfame potassium composition to form the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprising acesulfame potassium, e.g., via filtration and/or crystallization.

Acesulfame Potassium Compositions



[0041] The crude acesulfame potassium composition is formed by hydrolyzing the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form an acesulfame-H composition and neutralizing the acesulfame-H in the acesulfame-H composition to form the crude acesulfame potassium composition, as discussed herein. The product of the neutralization step is phase separated into aqueous and organic phases. The crude acesulfame potassium composition may be obtained from the aqueous phase (without any further purification). The crude acesulfame potassium composition preferably comprises a mixture of acesulfame potassium, e.g., non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium, and less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, e.g., less than 30 wppm, less than 25 wppm, less than 20 wppm, less than 15 wppm, less than 12 wppm, less than 10 wppm, less than 7 wppm, less than 5 wppm, less than 3 wppm, or less than 1 wppm. In some cases the crude acesulfame potassium composition is free of 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, e.g., substantially free of 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium (undetectable). In terms of ranges, the crude acesulfame potassium composition may comprise from 1 wppb to 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, e.g., from 1 wppb to 20 wppm, from 1 wppb to 10 wppm, from 1 wppb to 5 wppm, from 1 wppb to 2.7 wppm, from 10 wppb to 20 wppm, from 10 wppb to 19 wppm, from 10 wppb to 15 wppm, from 10 wppb to 12 wppm, from 10 wppb to 10 wppm, from 10 wppb to 5 wppm, from 100 wppb to 15 wppm, from 100 wppb to 10 wppm, or from 100 wppb to 5 wppm.

[0042] The finished acesulfame potassium compositions, which are typically suitable for end consumer usage, are formed by treating the crude acesulfame potassium composition to remove impurities, as discussed herein. This finished acesulfame potassium composition preferably comprises a mixture of acesulfame potassium, e.g., non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium, and less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, e.g., less than 30 wppm, less than 25 wppm, less than 20 wppm, less than 15 wppm, less than 12 wppm, less than 10 wppm, less than 7 wppm, less than 5 wppm, less than 3 wppm, or less than 1 wppm. In some cases the finished acesulfame potassium composition is free of 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, e.g., substantially free of 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium (undetectable). In terms of ranges, the finished acesulfame potassium composition may comprise from 1 wppb to 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, e.g., from 1 wppb to 20 wppm, from 1 wppb to 10 wppm, from 1 wppb to 5 wppm, from 1 wppb to 2.7 wppm, from 10 wppb to 20 wppm, from 10 wppb to 19 wppm, from 10 wppb to 15 wppm, from 10 wppb to 12 wppm, from 10 wppb to 10 wppm, from 10 wppb to 5 wppm, from 100 wppb to 15 wppm, from 100 wppb to 10 wppm, or from 100 wppb to 5 wppm. The shorter contact times reduce or eliminate 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium formation, resulting in both a crude acesulfame potassium composition and a finished acesulfame potassium composition having low 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium content.

[0043] In some embodiments, the finished acesulfame potassium compositions comprise acesulfame potassium and less than 33 wppm acetoacetamide, e.g., less than 32 wppm, less than 30 wppm, less than 25 wppm, less than 20 wppm, less than 15 wppm, less than 12 wppm, less than 10 wppm, less than 7 wppm, less than 5 wppm, less than 3 wppm, less than 1 wppm, less than 0.8 wppm, less than 0.5 wppm, or less than 0.3 wppm. In some cases the finished acesulfame potassium composition is free of acetoacetamide, e.g., substantially free of acetoacetamide (undetectable). In terms of ranges, the finished acesulfame potassium composition may comprise from 1 wppb to 33 wppm acetoacetamide, e.g., from 10 wppb to 32 wppm, from 10 wppb to 25 wppm, from 10 wppb to 15 wppm, from 10 wppb to 12 wppm, from 10 wppb to 10 wppm, from 10 wppb to 7 wppm, from 10 wppb to 5 wppm, from 10 wppb to 3 wppm, from 100 wppb to 15 wppm, from 100 wppb to 10 wppm, or from 100 wppb to 5 wppm. In some cases, acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid may also be present in the finished acesulfame potassium compositions in the aforementioned amounts. These impurities may be formed by side reactions and degradation of the acesulfame potassium and acesulfame-H molecules, e.g., during treatment of the specific crude acesulfame potassium compositions discussed herein.

[0044] The 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium content may be measured in the crude and/or finished acesulfame potassium compositions (as well as any intermediate compositions) via high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis, based on European Pharmacopoeia guidelines (2017), based on European Pharmacopoeia guidelines for thin layer chromatography (2017) and adapted for HPLC. A particular measurement scenario utilizes an LC Systems HPLC unit from Shimadzu having a CBM-20 Shimadzu controller and being equipped with a CC 250/4.6 Nucleodur 100-3 C18 ec (250 x 4.6 mm) MACHEREY NAGEL column. A Shimadzu SPD-M20A photodiode array detector can be used for detection (at 234 nm wavelength). Analysis may be performed at 23 °C column temperature. As an eluent solution, an aqueous solution of tetra butyl ammonium hydrogen sulfate (optionally at 3.4g /L and at 60% of the total solution) and acetonitrile (optionally at 300 mL/L and at 40% of the total solution) may be employed. Elution may be isocratic. The overall flow rate of total eluent may be approximately 1 mL/min. The data collection and calculations may be performed using LabSolution software from Shimadzu.

[0045] The acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid and/or the acetoacetamide content may be measured in the crude, intermediate, or finished acesulfame potassium compositions via HPLC analysis, based on European Pharmacopoeia guidelines for thin layer chromatography (2017) and adapted for HPLC. A particular measurement scenario utilizes an LC Systems HPLC unit from Shimadzu having a CBM-20 Shimadzu controller and being equipped with an IonPac NS1 ((5 µm) 150 x 4 mm) analytical column and an IonPac NG1 guard column (35 x 4.0 mm). A Shimadzu SPD-M20A photodiode array detector can be used for detection (at 270 nm and 280 nm wavelength). Analysis may be performed at 23 °C column temperature. As a first eluent solution, an aqueous mixture of tetra butyl ammonium hydrogen sulfate (3.4g /L), acetonitrile (300 mL/L), and potassium hydroxide (0.89 g/L) may be employed; as a second eluent solution, an aqueous mixture of tetra butyl ammonium hydrogen sulfate (3.4g /L) and potassium hydroxide (0.89 g/L) may be employed. Elution may be conducted in gradient mode according to the following second eluent flow profile:
  • 0 to 3 minutes: constant 80 % (v/v)
  • 3 to 6 minutes: linear reduction to 50 % (v/v)
  • 6 to 15 minutes: constant at 50 % (v/v)
  • 15 to 18 minutes: linear reduction to 0 %
  • 18 to 22 minutes: constant at 0 %
  • 22 to 24 minutes: linear increase to 80 % (v/v)
  • 24 to 35 minutes constant at 80 % (v/v).
Overall flow rate of eluent may be approximately 1.2 mL/min. The data collection and calculations may be performed using LabSolution software from Shimadzu.

[0046] As noted above, the crude acesulfame potassium composition is formed by the aforementioned contacting of the solvent and the cyclizing agent to form a cyclizing agent composition; cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct composition formation reaction, and forming from the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct the finished acesulfame potassium composition (for example via hydrolysis, neutralization, and treatment). In preferred embodiments, the contact time may be less than 60 minutes, e.g., less than 45 minutes, less than 30 minutes, less than 15 minutes, less than 10 minutes, less than 8 minutes, less than 5 minutes, less than 3 minutes, or less than 1 minute (optionally ranging from 1 second to 60 minutes, e.g., from 1 second to 45 minutes, from 1 second to 30 minutes, from 1 second to 15 minutes, from 1 second to 10 minutes, from 1 minute to 45 minutes, from 1 minute to 30 minutes, from 1 minute to 15 minutes, from 1 minute to 10 minutes, from 10 seconds to 45 minutes, from 10 seconds to 30 minutes, from 30 seconds to 30 minutes, from 1 minute to 10 minutes, from 3 minutes to 10 minutes, or from 5 minutes to 10 minutes); the crude acesulfame potassium composition may comprise from 1 wppb to 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, e.g., from 1 wppb to 20 wppm, from 1 wppb to 10 wppm, from 1 wppb to 5 wppm, from 1 wppb to 2.7 wppm, from 10 wppb to 20 wppm, from 10 wppb to 19 wppm, from 10 wppb to 15 wppm, from 10 wppb to 12 wppm, from 10 wppb to 10 wppm, from 10 wppb to 5 wppm, from 100 wppb to 15 wppm, from 100 wppb to 10 wppm, or from 100 wppb to 5 wppm (optionally less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, e.g., less than 30 wppm, less than 25 wppm, less than 20 wppm, less than 15 wppm, less than 12 wppm, less than 10 wppm, less than 7 wppm, less than 5 wppm, less than 3 wppm, or less than 1 wppm); and the finished acesulfame potassium composition may comprise from 1 wppb to 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, e.g., from 1 wppb to 20 wppm, from 1 wppb to 10 wppm, from 1 wppb to 5 wppm, from 1 wppb to 2.7 wppm, from 10 wppb to 20 wppm, from 10 wppb to 19 wppm, from 10 wppb to 15 wppm, from 10 wppb to 12 wppm, from 10 wppb to 10 wppm, from 10 wppb to 5 wppm, from 100 wppb to 15 wppm, from 100 wppb to 10 wppm, or from 100 wppb to 5 wppm (optionally less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, e.g., less than 30 wppm, less than 25 wppm, less than 20 wppm, less than 15 wppm, less than 12 wppm, less than 10 wppm, less than 7 wppm, less than 5 wppm, less than 3 wppm, or less than 1 wppm).

[0047] In a particular embodiment, the contact time is less than 15 minutes, the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, and the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.

[0048] In another particular embodiment, the contact time is less than 5 minutes, the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, and the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 2.7 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.

[0049] In another particular embodiment, the contact time ranges from 1 second to 10 minutes, the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 1 wppb to 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, and the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 1 wppb to 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.

[0050] In another particular embodiment, the contact time ranges from 1 second to 10 minutes, the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 1 wppb to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, and the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 1 wppb to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.

[0051] In another particular embodiment, the contact time ranges from 1 second to 30 minutes, the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 10 wppb to 10 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, and the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 10 wppb to 10 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.

[0052] The acesulfame potassium compositions (crude and/or finished) may, in some cases, comprise other impurities. Exemplary impurities include, inter alia, acetoacetamide, acetoacetamidesulfonate, and acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid. The acesulfame potassium compositions (crude and/or finished) also may comprise heavy metals. The organic impurities and/or heavy metals may be present in an amount ranging from 1 wppb to 25 wppm, based on the total weight of the respective acesulfame potassium composition, crude or finished, e.g., from 100 wppb to 20 wppm, from 100 wppb to 15 wppm, from 500 wppb to 10 wppm, or from 1 wppm to 5 wppm. Heavy metals are defined as metals with relatively high densities, e.g., greater than 3 g/cm3 or greater than 7g/cm3. Exemplary heavy metals include lead and mercury. In some cases, the crude or finished acesulfame potassium composition may comprise mercury in an amount ranging from 1 wppb to 25 wppm, e.g., from 100 wppb to 20 wppm, from 100 wppb to 15 wppm, from 500 wppb to 10 wppm, or from 1 wppm to 5 wppm. In terms of limits, the crude or finished acesulfame potassium composition may comprise less than 25 wppm mercury, e.g., less than 20 wppm, less than 15 wppm, less than 10 wppm, or less than 5 wppm. In some cases, the crude or finished acesulfame potassium composition may comprise lead in an amount ranging from 1 wppb to 25 wppm, e.g., from 100 wppb to 20 wppm, from 100 wppb to 15 wppm, from 500 wppb to 10 wppm, or from 1 wppm to 5 wppm. In terms of limits, the crude or finished acesulfame potassium composition may comprise less than 25 wppm lead, e.g., less than 20 wppm, less than 15 wppm, less than 10 wppm, or less than 5 wppm. In some cases, when potassium hydroxide is formed via a membrane process, the resultant crude or finished acesulfame potassium composition may have very low levels of mercury, if any, e.g., less than 10 wppm, less than 5 wppm, less than 3 wppm, less than 1 wppm, less than 500 wppb, or less than 100 wppb.

[0053] In some embodiments, the acesulfame potassium compositions (crude, intermediate, and/or finished) may comprise acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid, e.g., less than 37 wppm acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid, e.g., less than 35 wppm, less than 30 wppm, less than 25 wppm, less than 20 wppm, less than 15 wppm, less than 12 wppm, less than 10 wppm, less than 7 wppm, less than 5 wppm, less than 3 wppm, less than 1 wppm, less than 0.8 wppm, less than 0.5 wppm, or less than 0.3 wppm. In some cases the finished acesulfame potassium composition is substantially free of acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid, e.g., free of acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid. In terms of ranges, the finished acesulfame potassium composition may comprise from 1 wppb to 37 wppm acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid, e.g., from 10 wppb to 35 wppm, from 10 wppb to 25 wppm, from 10 wppb to 15 wppm, from 10 wppb to 12 wppm, from 10 wppb to 10 wppm, from 10 wppb to 7 wppm, from 10 wppb to 5 wppm, from 10 wppb to 3 wppm, from 100 wppb to 15 wppm, from 100 wppb to 10 wppm, or from 100 wppb to 5 wppm. Acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid may be formed in side reactions. The use of the aforementioned temperature (and optionally contact time) parameters also provide for low amounts of acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid.

[0054] In some embodiments, the crude acesulfame potassium composition is treated to achieve the finished acesulfame potassium composition. In some cases, however, treatment steps may not provide for removal of 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, perhaps due to the chemical similarities of 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium and acesulfame potassium. Surprisingly, the use of the process steps disclosed herein advantageously provides for the reduction or elimination of impurities during the reaction scheme, before purification of the crude acesulfame potassium composition. Accordingly, the need to rely on purification of the crude acesulfame potassium composition to remove 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium is beneficially reduced. In some embodiments, the acesulfame potassium compositions (crude and/or finished) comprise at least 90% of the 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium present the crude acesulfame potassium composition, e.g., at least 93%, at least 95%, or at least 99%.

Intermediate Reaction Parameters



[0055] The reactions for production of high purity acesulfame potassium are described in more detail as follows.

Amidosulfamic Acid Salt Formation Reaction



[0056] In a first reaction step, sulfamic acid and an amine are reacted to form sulfamic acid salt. An exemplary reaction scheme that employs triethylamine as the amine and yields triethyl ammonium sulfamic acid salt is shown in reaction (1), below.

         H2N-SO3H + N(C2H5)3 → H2N-SO3- ‚óŹ HN+(C2H5)3     (1)



[0057] Acetic acid is also present in the first reaction mixture and reacts with the amine, e.g., triethylamine, to form an ammonium acetate, e.g., triethylammonium acetate, as shown in reaction (2), below.

         H3C-COOH + N(C2H5)3 → H3C-COO- • HN+(C2H5)3     (2)



[0058] The amine employed in these reactions may vary widely. Preferably, the amine comprises triethylamine. In one embodiment, the amine may be selected from the group consisting of trimethylamine, diethylpropylamine, tri-n-propylamine, triisopropylamine, ethyldiisopropylamine, tri-n-butylamine, triisobutylamine, tricyclohexylamine, ethyldicyclohexylamine, N,N-dimethylaniline, N,N-diethylaniline, benzyldimethylamine, pyridine, substituted pyridines such as picoline, lutidine, cholidine or methylethylpyridine, N-methylpiperidine, N-ethylpiperidine, N-methylmorpholine, N,N-dimethylpiperazine, 1,5-diazabicyclo[4.3.0]-non-5-en, 1,8-diazabicyclo-[5.4.0]-undec-7-en, 1,4-diazabicyclooctane, tetramethylhexamethylendiamine, tetramethylethylendiamine, tetramethylpropylendiamine, tetramethylbutylendiamine, 1,2-dimorpholylethan, pentamethyldiethyltriamine, pentaethyldiethylentriamine, pentamethyldipropylentriamine, tetramethyldiaminomethane, tetrapropyldiaminomethane, hexamethyltriethylentetramine, hexamethyltripropylenetetramine, diisobutylentriamine, triisopropylentriamine, and mixtures thereof.

Acetoacetamide Salt Formation Reaction



[0059] Once formed in reaction (1), the sulfamic acid salt is reacted with the acetoacetylating agent to form the acetoacetamide salt, preferably acetoacetamide-N-sulfonate triethylammonium salt. Preferably, the acetoacetylating agent comprises diketene, although other acetoacetylating agents may be employed, either with or without diketene.

[0060] In one embodiment, the resultant acetoacetamide salt corresponds to the following formula (3).

wherein M+ is an appropriate ion. Preferably, M+ is an alkali metal ion or N+R1R2R3R4. R1, R2, R3 and R4, independently of one another, may be organic radicals or hydrogen, preferably H or C1-C8 alkyl, C6-C10 cycloalkyl, aryl and/or aralkyl. In a preferred embodiment, R1 is hydrogen, and R2, R3 and R4 are alkyl, e.g., ethyl.

[0061] An exemplary reaction scheme for forming an acetoacetamide salt employs a trialkyl ammonium amidosulfamic acid salt and diketene as reactants and yields an acetoacetamide triethylammonium salt is shown in reaction (4), below.



[0062] In one embodiment, the reaction is conducted in the presence of a catalyst, which may vary widely. In some embodiments, the catalyst comprises one or more amines and/or phosphines. Preferably, the catalyst comprises triethylamine. In some cases trimethylamine serves as both a catalyst and a reactant.

[0063] In one embodiment wherein the amidosulfamic acid salt formation reaction and the acetoacetamide salt formation reaction are conducted in separate reactors, a second reaction mixture comprises the amidosulfamic acid salt, the diketene, and the catalyst, e.g., triethylamine. Preferably, catalyst from the first reaction is carried through to the reaction mixture of the second reaction. The second reaction mixture is then subjected to conditions effective to form the acetoacetamide salt.

[0064] In one embodiment, the composition of the second reaction mixture may be similar to that of the first reaction mixture. In a preferred embodiment, the reaction product of the amidosulfamic acid salt formation reaction provides the amidosulfamic acid salt component of the second reaction mixture. In addition to the above-mentioned components, the second reaction mixture may further comprise reaction by-products from the first reaction or non-reacted starting materials.

[0065] In one embodiment, the amount of acetoacetylating agent, e.g., diketene, should be at least equimolar to the reactant amidosulfamic acid salt that is provided. In one embodiment, the process may utilize a diketene in excess, but preferably in an excess less than 30 mol%, e.g., less than 10 mol%. Greater excesses are also contemplated.

[0066] The amidosulfamic acid salt formation reaction and/or the acetoacetamide salt formation reaction may employ an organic solvent. Suitable inert organic solvents include anyorganic solvents that do not react in an undesired manner with the starting materials, cyclizing agent, final products and/or the catalysts in the reaction. The solvents preferably have the ability to dissolve, at least partially, amidosulfamic acid salts. Exemplary organic solvents include halogenated aliphatic hydrocarbons, preferably having up to 4 carbon atoms such as, for example, methylene chloride, chloroform, 1,2-dichlorethane, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, trichlorofluoroethylene; aliphatic ketones, preferably those having 3 to 6 carbon atoms such as, for example, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone; aliphatic ethers, preferably cyclic aliphatic ethers having 4 or 5 carbon atoms such as, for example, tetrahydrofuran, dioxane; lower aliphatic carboxylic acids, preferably those having 2 to 6 carbon atoms such as, for example, acetic acid, propionic acid; aliphatic nitriles, preferably acetonitrile; N-alkyl-substituted amides of carbonic acid and lower aliphatic carboxylic acids, preferably amides having up to 5 carbon atoms such as, for example, tetramethylurea, dimethylformamide, dimethylacetamide, N-methylpyrrolidone; aliphatic sulfoxides, preferably dimethyl sulfoxide, and aliphatic sulfones, preferably sulfolane.

[0067] Particularly preferred solvents include dichloromethane (methylene chloride), 1,2-dichloroethane, acetone, glacial acetic acid and dimethylformamide, with dichloromethane (methylene chloride) being particularly preferred. The solvents may be used either alone or in a mixture. In one embodiment, the solvent is a halogenated, aliphatic hydrocarbon solvent, preferably the solvent is dichloromethane. Chloroform and tetrachloromethane are also exemplary solvents.

[0068] In one embodiment, the acetoacetamide salt formation reaction is conducted a temperature ranging from -30°C to 50°C, e.g., from 0°C to 25°C. The reaction pressure may vary widely. In preferred embodiments, the reaction is carried out at atmospheric pressure, although other pressures are also contemplated. The reaction time may vary widely, preferably ranging from 0.5 hours to 12 hours, e.g., from 1 hour to 10 hours. In one embodiment, the reaction is carried out by introducing the amidosulfamic acid salt and metering in the diketene. In another embodiment, the reaction is carried out by introducing diketene and metering in the amidosulfamic acid salt. The reaction may be carried out by introducing the diketene and amidosulfamic acid and metering in the catalyst.

[0069] Once formed, each reaction product is optionally subjected to one or more purification steps. For example, the solvent may be separated from the reaction product, e.g., via distillation, and the residue (mainly acetoacetamide-N-sulfonate) may be recrystallized from a suitable solvent such as, for example, acetone, methyl acetate or ethanol.

[0070] Generally speaking, the steps of reacting sulfamic acid and triethylamine to form an amidosulfamic acid salt, reacting the amidosulfamic acid salt and diketene to form the acetoacetamide salt, and contacting dichloromethane and a sulfur trioxide to form a cyclizing agent composition are performed in no particular order. Each of these steps may be performed independently of one another. In some cases, these steps may be performed in any order as long as they are performed before the cyclization reaction, e.g., the reaction of the acetoacetamide salt with sulfur trioxide to form a cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct.

Cyclization and Hydrolyzation



[0071] The acetoacetamide salt is reacted with cyclizing agent, e.g., cyclizing agent in the cyclizing agent composition, in the presence of a solvent to form the cyclic (sulfur trioxide) adduct composition, which contains cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct and, in some cases, impurities. In some cases, a cooling step occurs before the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct formation reaction. In one embodiment, the cyclization is achieved by using at least an equimolar amount of the cyclizing agent. The cyclizing agent may be dissolved in an inert inorganic or organic solvent. The cyclizing agent is generally used in a molar excess, e.g., up to a 20 fold excess, or up to a 10 fold excess, based on the total moles of acetoacetamide salt. An exemplary cyclization reaction using sulfur trioxide as the cyclizing agent is shown in reaction (5), below.



[0072] In one embodiment, the weight ratio of solvent to cyclizing agent in the cyclizing agent composition is at least 1:1, e.g., at least 2:1, or at least 5:1. In one embodiment, the weight ratio of solvent to cyclizing agent in the cyclizing agent composition ranges from 1:1 to 25:1, e.g., from 1:1 to 10:1, from 2:1 to 10:1, or from 5:1 to 10:1.

[0073] A cyclizing agent may be any compound that initiates the ring closure of the acetoacetamide salt. Although sulfur trioxide is a preferred cyclizing agent, the employment of other cyclizing agents is contemplated.

[0074] Suitable inert inorganic or organic solvents are those liquids which do not react in an undesired manner with sulfur trioxide or the starting materials or final products of the reaction. Preferred organic solvents include, but are not limited to, halogenated aliphatic hydrocarbons, preferably having up to four carbon atoms, such as, for example, methylene chloride (dichloromethane), chloroform, 1,2-dichloroethane, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, trichlorofluoroethylene; esters of carbonic acid with lower aliphatic alcohols, preferably with methanol or ethanol; nitroalkanes, preferably having up to four carbon atoms, in particular nitromethane; alkyl-substituted pyridines, preferably collidine; and aliphatic sulfones, preferably sulfolane. Particularly preferred solvents for the cyclization reaction include dichloromethane (methylene chloride), 1,2-dichloroethane, acetone, glacial acetic acid and dimethylformamide, with dichloromethane (methylene dichloride) being particularly preferred. Other solvents, e.g., other solvents mentioned herein, may also be suitable as solvents. The solvents may be used either alone or in a mixture. In one embodiment, the solvent is a halogenated, aliphatic hydrocarbon solvent, preferably the solvent is dichloromethane. The processes may employ these solvents alone or in mixtures thereof.

[0075] In some cases, the solvent in the cyclizing agent composition may be selected from 1) concentrated sulfuric acid, 2) liquid sulfur dioxide, or 3) an inert organic solvent.

[0076] In a preferred embodiment, the same solvent is used in both the acetoacetamide salt formation reaction and the cyclization reaction. As one benefit, the solution obtained in the acetoacetamide salt formation reaction, without isolation of the acetoacetamide salt formation reaction product, may be used immediately in the cyclization.

[0077] In one embodiment, the reaction temperature for the cyclization reaction ranges from -70 °C to 175 °C, e.g., from -40 °C to 60°C. The pressure at which the reaction is conducted may vary widely. In one embodiment, the reaction is conducted at a pressure ranging from 0.01 MPa to 10 MPa, e.g., from 0.1 MPa to 5 MPa. Preferably, the reaction is conducted at atmospheric pressure.

[0078] The acetoacetamide salt may be introduced to the cyclization reactor and the cyclizing agent composition, e.g., a solution of cyclizing agent optionally in solvent, may be metered into the reactor. In preferred embodiments, both reactants (acetoacetamide salt and cyclizing agent) are simultaneously fed into the reactor. In one embodiment, the cyclizing agent composition is initially introduced into the reactor and the acetoacetamide salt is added. Preferably, at least part of the cyclizing agent composition is introduced into the reactor and, either continuously or in portions, acetoacetamide salt and (additional) cyclizing agent are then metered in, preferably while maintaining the temperature as described above.

[0079] The acetoacetamide salt may be introduced to the reactor and the cyclizing agent composition may be metered into the reactor. In preferred embodiments, both reactants are simultaneously fed into the reactor. In one embodiment, the cyclizing agent composition is initially introduced into the reactor and the acetoacetamide salt is added. Preferably, at least part of the cyclizing agent composition is introduced into the reactor and, either continuously or in portions, acetoacetamide salt and (additional) cyclizing agent are then metered in, preferably while maintaining the temperature as described above.

[0080] The formation of the crude acesulfame potassium composition from the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct composition, in some embodiments, comprises the steps of hydrolyzing the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form an acesulfame-H composition; neutralizing the acesulfame-H in the acesulfame H composition to form a crude acesulfame potassium composition; and forming the acesulfame potassium composition from the crude acesulfame potassium composition.

[0081] The cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct may be hydrolyzed via conventional means, e.g., using water. Thus, the forming step may comprise the steps of hydrolyzing the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form an acesulfame-H composition. Acesulfame-H is referred to as sweetener acid.

[0082] An exemplary hydrolysis reaction scheme is shown in reaction (6), below.



[0083] The addition of the water leads to a phase separation. The majority of the sweetener acid, acesulfame-H (6-methyl-3,4-dihydro-1,2,3-oxathiazin-4-one 2,2-dioxide), which is formed via the hydrolysis, is present in the organic phase, e.g., at least 60 wt%, at least 70%, at least 80%, or at least 90%. The remainder of the sweetener acid is in the water phase and can be extracted and optionally added to the sweetener acid in the organic phase. In cases where dichloromethane is used as the reaction medium, water or ice may be added, e.g., in a molar excess, based on the sulfur trioxide, to the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct/sulfur trioxide solution.

[0084] In some cases, the hydrolysis step comprises adding water to the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct. In preferred embodiments, the weight ratio of water to acetoacetamide salt is greater than 1.3:1, e.g., greater than 1.5:1, greater than 1.7:1, greater than 2:1 or greater than 2.2:1. Employment of these ratios may lead to decreases in acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid and/or acetoacetamide formation in the neutralized crude acesulfame potassium composition, e.g., the crude acesulfame potassium composition may comprise acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid in the amounts discussed herein.

[0085] It was surprisingly discovered that the temperature at which the water is initially fed to the hydrolysis reaction may have beneficial effects on impurity production, e.g., organic production or 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium production as well as reaction parameters, e.g., temperature. At lower temperatures, e.g., lower than approximately -35 °C or lower than -22 °C, ice tends to build up in the reaction mixture. As this ice melted, it led to the onset of additional reaction, which caused the temperature to rise quickly. This rise in temperature surprisingly led to a product that contained much higher levels of impurities. In some cases, the hydrolyzing comprises adding hydrolysis water to the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form a hydrolysis reaction mixture and reacting the mixture to from the acesulfame-H composition. In some embodiments, the temperature of the hydrolysis reaction mixture or the temperature at which the hydrolysis water is fed to the reactor is maintained at a temperature greater than -35 °C, e.g., greater than -30 °C, greater than -25 °C, greater than -24 °C, greater than -23 °C, greater than -22 °C, greater than -21.5 °C, greater than -21 °C, or greater than greater than -20 °C. In terms of ranges, the temperature of the hydrolysis reaction mixture or the temperature at which the hydrolysis water is fed to the reactor optionally is maintained at a temperature ranging from -35 °C to 0 °C, e.g., from -30 °C to -5 °C, from -20 °C to -5 °C, from -30 °C to -20 °C, from -25 °C to -21 °C, or -25 °C to -21.5 °C.

[0086] After the addition of water, the reaction solvent, e.g., dichloromethane, may be removed by distillation, or the acesulfame-H that remains in the organic phase may be extracted with a more suitable solvent. Suitable solvents are those which are sufficiently stable towards sulfuric acid and which have a satisfactory dissolving capacity. Other suitable solvents include esters of carbonic acid such as, for example dimethyl carbonate, diethyl carbonate and ethylene carbonate, or esters of organic monocarboxylic acids such as, for example, isopropyl formate and isobutyl formate, ethyl acetate, isopropyl acetate, butyl acetate, isobutyl acetate and neopentyl acetate, or esters of dicarboxylic acids or amides which are immiscible with water, such as, for example, tetrabutylurea, are suitable. Isopropyl acetate and isobutyl acetate are particularly preferred.

[0087] The combined organic phases are dried with, for example, Na2SO4, and are evaporated. Any sulfuric acid which has been carried over in the extraction may be removed by appropriate addition of aqueous alkali to the organic phase. For this purpose, dilute aqueous alkali may be added to the organic phase until the pH reached in the aqueous phase corresponds to that of pure 6-methyl-3,4-dihydro-1,2,3-oxathiazin-4-one 2,2-dioxide at the same concentration in the same two-phase system of extracting agent and water.

Neutralization



[0088] The neutralization of the acesulfame-H yields a non-toxic salt of acesulfame-H, e.g., acesulfame potassium. In one embodiment, neutralization is carried out by reacting the acesulfame-H with an appropriate base, e.g., potassium hydroxide, in particular a membrane-produced potassium hydroxide. Other suitable bases include, for example, KOH, KHCO3, K2CO3, and potassium alcoholates. An exemplary reaction scheme using potassium hydroxide as a neutralizing agent is shown in reaction (7), below.



[0089] In some cases, the neutralization is conducted or maintained at a low pH levels, which may advantageously further result in a reduction or elimination of the formation of impurities, e.g., acetoacetamide salts. In this context, "conducted" means that the neutralization step begins at a low pH level, and "maintained" means that steps are taken to ensure that the pH stays within a low pH range throughout the entire neutralization step. In one embodiment, the neutralization step is conducted or maintained at a pH below 10.0, e.g., below 9.5, below 9.0, below 8.5, below 8.0, below 7.5, below 7.0, or below 6.5. In terms of ranges, the neutralization step is preferably conducted or maintained at a pH between 6.0 and 10.0, e.g., between 6.5 and 9.5, between 7.0 and 9.0, or between 7.5 and 8.5.

[0090] In some cases, the pH in the neutralizing step may be maintained within the desired range by managing the components of the neutralization reaction mixture, which comprises acesulfame-H and neutralizing agent (and also solvent). For example, the composition of the neutralization reaction mixture may include from 1 wt% to 95 wt% neutralizing agent, e.g., from 10 wt% to 85 wt% or from 25 wt% to 75 wt%, and from 1 wt% to 95 wt% acesulfame-H, e.g., from 10 wt% to 85 wt% or from 25 wt% to 75 wt%. These concentration ranges are based on the mixture of neutralization agent and acesulfame-H (not including solvent).

[0091] In one embodiment, the acesulfame-H may be neutralized and extracted directly from the purified organic extraction phase using an aqueous potassium base. The acesulfame potassium then precipitates out, where appropriate after evaporation of the solution, in the crystalline form, and it can also be recrystallized for purification.

[0092] In one embodiment, the process is not a small-scale batch process or a laboratory-scale process. For example, the inventive process for producing a finished acesulfame potassium composition may yield at least 50 grams of finished acesulfame potassium composition per batch, e.g., at least 100 grams per batch, at least 500 grams per batch, at least 1 kilogram per batch, or at least 10 kilograms per batch. In terms of rates, the inventive process may yield at least 50 grams of finished acesulfame potassium composition per hour, e.g., at least 100 grams per hour, at least 500 grams per hour, at least 1 kilogram per hour, or at least 10 kilograms per hour.

[0093] FIG. 1 shows an exemplary acesulfame potassium process 100 in accordance with the process described herein. Process 100 comprises amidosulfamic acid salt formation reactor 102 and acetoacetamide salt formation reactor 104. Although FIG. 1 shows separate reactors for the two intermediate formation reactions, other configurations, e.g., a one reactor process, are within the contemplation of the present process. Sulfamic acid is fed to amidosulfamic acid salt formation reactor 102 via sulfamic acid feed line 106. One or more amines, preferably triethylamine, are fed to amidosulfamic acid salt formation reactor 102 via amine feed line 108. In addition to sulfamic acid and amine(s), acetic acid is also fed to amidosulfamic acid salt formation reactor 102 (via feed line 110). The resultant reaction mixture in amidosulfamic acid salt formation reactor 102 is as discussed above. In amidosulfamic acid salt formation reactor 102, the sulfamic acid and the amine (in the presence of the acetic acid) are reacted to yield a crude amidosulfamic acid salt composition, which exits reactor 102 via line 112. Although not shown, a reaction solvent, e.g., dichloromethane may also be present in the amidosulfamic acid salt formation reactor 102.

[0094] The crude amidosulfamic acid salt composition in line 112 is directed to acetoacetamide salt formation reactor 104. Diketene is fed to acetoacetamide salt formation reactor 104 via feed line 114. In acetoacetamide salt formation reactor 104, the amidosulfamic acid salt and the diketene are reacted to yield a crude acetoacetamide salt composition, which exits reactor 104 via line 118. Although not shown, dichloromethane may also be present in the acetoacetamide salt formation reactor 104.

[0095] Cyclizing agent (sulfur dioxide) and solvent (dichloromethane) are fed to vessel 119 via feed lines 121 and 123. Vessel 119 is preferably a cooling vessel wherein the cyclizing agent composition (as discussed above) is formed. The cyclizing agent composition exits vessel 119 via line 125.

[0096] The crude acetoacetamide salt composition is directed to cyclization reactor 120 via line 118. The cooled cyclizing agent composition is also directed to cyclization reactor 120 (via line 125). Line 125 is preferably made of a material and in such a size and shape to facilitate the residence times discussed herein. In cyclization reactor 120, the acetoacetamide salt in the crude acetoacetamide salt composition in line 118 is cyclized and a cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct stream exits via line 124.

[0097] The cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct in line 124, is directed to hydrolysis reactor 126. Water is fed to hydrolysis reactor 126 via water feed 128. In hydrolysis reactor 126, the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct is hydrolyzed to yield a crude acesulfame-H composition, which exits hydrolysis reactor 126 via line 130 and is directed to phase separation unit 132. Phase separation unit 132 separates the contents of line 130 into organic phase 134 and aqueous phase 136. Organic phase 134 comprises a major amount of the acesulfame-H in line 130 as well as solvent, e.g., methylene chloride. Aqueous phase 136 exits via line 137 and comprises triethylammonium sulfate, and optionally sulfuric acid and minor amounts of acesulfame-H. This aqueous phase may be further purified to separate and/or recover the acesulfame-H and/or the triethylammonium sulfate. The recovered acesulfame-H may be combined with the acesulfame from the organic phase (not shown).

[0098] Organic phase 134 exits phase separation unit 132 and is directed to extraction column 138 (via line 140). Water is fed to extraction column 138 via water feed 142. The water extracts residual sulfates from the contents of line 140 and a purified acesulfame-H composition exits extraction column 138 via line 144. The extracted sulfates exit extraction column 138 via line 145.

[0099] The organic phase exits phase separation unit 132 and is directed to extraction column 138 (via line 140). Water is fed to extraction column 138 via water feed 142. The water extracts residual sulfates from the contents of line 140 and a purified acesulfame-H stream exits extraction column 138 via line 144. The extracted sulfates exit extraction column 138 via line 145.

[0100] The purified acesulfame-H composition in line 144 is directed to neutralization unit 146. Potassium hydroxide is also fed to neutralization unit 146 (via line 148). The potassium hydroxide neutralizes the acesulfame-H in the purified acesulfame-H composition to yield a product comprising acesulfame potassium, dichloromethane, water, potassium hydroxide, and impurities, e.g., 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium, which exits neutralization unit 146 via line 150. This product may be considered a crude acesulfame potassium composition.

[0101] The product in line 150 is directed to phase separation unit 160. Phase separation unit 160 separates the product in line 150 into organic phase 162 and an aqueous phase 164. Aqueous phase 164 comprises a major amount of the acesulfame potassium in line 150 as well as some impurities. Organic phase 162 comprises potassium hydroxide, dichloromethane, and water and may be further treated to recover these components. Aqueous phase 164 (without any further treatment) may be considered a crude acesulfame potassium composition. Aqueous phase 164 may be optionally treated to form a finished acesulfame potassium composition.

[0102] Aqueous phase 164 is directed to treatment unit 156 via line 166. In treatment unit 156, aqueous phase 164 is treated to obtain finished acesulfame potassium composition (product that may be sold), which is shown exiting via stream 152. In addition to the finished acesulfame potassium composition, dichloromethane and potassium hydroxide may be separated. These components exit treatment unit 156 via line 154. The contents of stream 154 may be recovered and/or recycled to the process.

[0103] The crude acesulfame potassium product stream comprises acesulfame potassium, dichloromethane, water, and potassium hydroxide. The crude acesulfame potassium product stream in line 150 may be directed to further processing to recover purified acesulfame potassium, which is shown exiting via stream 152. In addition to the purified acesulfame potassium, dichloromethane and potassium hydroxide may be separated from the crude acesulfame potassium product stream, as shown by stream 154. The contents of stream 154 may be recovered and/or recycled to the process.

[0104] The invention relates also to the following aspects:

Aspect 1: A process for producing a finished acesulfame potassium composition, the process comprising the steps of:

  1. (a) contacting a solvent and a cyclizing agent to form a cyclizing agent composition;
  2. (b) reacting an acetoacetamide salt with the cyclizing agent in the cyclizing agent composition to form a cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct; and
  3. (c) forming from the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium and less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium;
wherein contact time from the beginning of step (a) to the beginning of step (b) is less than 60 minutes.

Aspect 2: The process of aspect 1, wherein the forming comprises:

hydrolyzing the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form an acesulfame-H composition comprising acesulfame-H;

neutralizing the acesulfame-H in the acesulfame-H composition to form a crude acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium and less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium; and

forming the finished acesulfame potassium composition from the crude acesulfame potassium composition.

Aspect 3: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.

Aspect 4: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the contact time is less than 15 minutes and the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium and the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.

Aspect 5: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the contact time is less than 5 minutes and the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium and the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 2.7 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.

Aspect 6: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.

Aspect 7: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises at least 90% by weight of the 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium present in the crude acesulfame potassium composition.

Aspect 8: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the hydrolyzing comprises adding water to the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form a hydrolysis reaction mixture, and wherein the temperature of the hydrolysis reaction mixture is maintained at a temperature ranging from -35 °C to 0 °C.

Aspect 9: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm organic impurities.

Aspect 10: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, further comprising:

reacting sulfamic acid and an amine to form an amidosulfamic acid salt; and

reacting the amidosulfamic acid salt and acetoacetylating agent to form the acetoacetamide salt.

Aspect 11: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 2.7 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.

Aspect 12: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm organic impurities.

Aspect 13: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm heavy metals.

Aspect 14: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the cyclizing agent composition comprises less than 1 wt% of compounds selected from chloromethyl chlorosulfate, methyl-bis-chlorosulfate, and mixtures thereof.

Aspect 15: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the reacting is conducted for a cyclization reaction time, from the start of the reactant feed to the end of the reactant feed, less than 35 minutes.

Aspect 16: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the weight ratio of solvent to cyclizing agent in the cyclizing agent composition is at least 1:1.

Aspect 17: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, further comprising cooling the cyclizing agent composition to a temperature less than 15°C.

Aspect 18: The process of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the cyclizing agent comprises sulfur trioxide and the solvent comprises dichloromethane.

Aspect 19: A finished acesulfame potassium composition produced or producible by, or obtainable or obtained from the process of any one of aspects 1 to 18.

Aspect 20: The finished acesulfame potassium composition of aspect 19, comprising:

non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium;

from 0.001 wppm to 2.7 wppm 5-chloro acesulfame potassium; and

from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm heavy metals.

Aspect 21: A process for producing a finished acesulfame potassium composition, the process comprising the steps of:

reacting sulfamic acid and triethylamine to form an amidosulfamic acid salt;

reacting the amidosulfamic acid salt and diketene to form the acetoacetamide salt;

contacting dichloromethane and a sulfur trioxide to form a cyclizing agent composition;

reacting the acetoacetamide salt with the sulfur trioxide in the cyclizing agent composition to form a cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct;

hydrolyzing the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form an acesulfame-H composition; and

neutralizing the acesulfame-H to form the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium and less than 10 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium,

wherein contact time from the beginning of step (a) to the beginning of step (b) is less than 10 minutes.

Aspect 22: The process of aspect 21, further comprising cooling the cyclizing agent composition to a temperature less than 15°C.

Aspect 23: An acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium and less than 35 wppm, preferably 0.001 wppm to 2.7 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.

Aspect 24: The acesulfame potassium composition of aspect 23, further comprising less than 37 wppm, preferably 1 wppb to 5 wppm acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid.

Aspect 25: The acesulfame potassium composition of any one of the preceding aspects, further comprising 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm organic impurities and/or 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm of at least one heavy metal.

Aspect 26: The acesulfame potassium composition of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the at least one heavy metal is selected from the group consisting of mercury, lead and both.

Aspect 27: The acesulfame potassium composition of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the mercury is present in an amount of 1 wppb to 20 wppm.

Aspect 28: The acesulfame potassium composition of any one of the preceding aspects, wherein the lead is present in an amount of 1 wppb to 25 wppm.


Examples


Example 1



[0105] Liquid sulfur trioxide and dichloromethane were continuously fed, contacted (to form a cyclizing agent composition), and cooled into a static mixer at 1220 kg/h and 8000 kg/h, respectively. The temperature of the cooled cyclizing agent composition was 11°C. The mixture was held in the static mixture for less than 5 minutes and then fed into a cyclization reactor, thus contact time was less than 5 minutes. In the cyclization reactor the sulfur trioxide/diclhloromethane composition was reacted with a solution of acetoacetamide-N-sulfonate triethylammonium salt (acetoacetamide salt) in dichloromethane. The resultant cyclized product was hydrolyzed and worked up to yield a crude acesulfame potassium composition comprising (non-chlorinated) acesulfame potassium. Testing for 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium content was performed using the HPLC equipment and techniques discussed herein. In particular, the HPLC analysis was performed using an LC Systems HPLC unit from Shimadzu having a CBM-20 Shimadzu controller and being equipped with a CC 250/4.6 Nucleodur 100-3 C18 ec (250 x 4.6 mm) MACHEREY NAGEL column. A Shimadzu SPD-M20A photodiode array detector was used for detection (at 234 nm wavelength). Analysis was performed at 23 °C column temperature. As an eluent solution, an aqueous solution of tetra butyl ammonium hydrogen sulfate (3.4g /L and 60% of the total solution) and acetonitrile (HPLC grade) (300 mL/L and 40% of the total solution) was employed. Elution was isocratic. The overall flow rate of total eluent was approximately 1 mL/min. The data collection and calculations were performed using LabSolution software from Shimadzu. With a detection limit of 1 wppm, no 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium was detected.

Comparative Example A



[0106] 528 mmol of sulfur trioxide in dichloromethane was prepared and stored for 20 days at 20°C. The sulfur trioxide/diclhloromethane composition was fed to a stirred vessel. 100 mmol acetoacetamide-N-sulfonate triethylammonium salt in dichloromethane was reacted with the sulfur trioxide/diclhloromethane composition by continuous feeding into the stirred vessel for 30 minutes. Contact time was 20 days. After additional stirring for two minutes, the reaction mixture was hydrolyzed by the addition of 50 ml water and worked up as described herein. Testing for 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium content was performed using the HPLC equipment and techniques discussed above. The crude acesulfame potassium had an impurity content of 4960 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.

Example 2 and Comparative Examples B and C



[0107] 100 mmol of 99.5 % pure sulfamic acid was suspended in 50 mL dichloromethane in a flask with reflux. Under continuous agitation, 105 mmol of trimethylamine was added within approximately 3 minutes. During this time, temperature increased due to acid/base exothermal reaction up to about 42 °C (the boiling point of dichloromethane). This reaction mixture was stirred for approximately 15 additional minutes, until no solid sedimentation was seen in the flask. Then, 10 mmol of acetic acid was added to the first reaction mixture and was stirred for approximately 15 additional minutes. At this point, within 7 minutes of the addition of the acetic acid, 110 mmol of diketene was added dropwise to form a second reaction mixture. After the addition of all of the diketene was added to the second reaction mixture and approximately 15 minutes of reaction time, this second reaction mixture was cooled. The resultant cooled second reaction mixture contained approximately 30 % acetoacetamide N-sulfonate triethylammonium salt. Additional batches of cooled second reaction mixture were prepared as necessary. The acetoacetamide N-sulfonate triethylammonium salt was used as discussed below.

[0108] Sulfur trioxide/dichloromethane compositions (cyclizing agent compositions) were prepared by contacting approximately 15 wt% sulfur trioxide and approximately 85 wt% dichloromethane with one another in a flask.

[0109] For each of Example 2 and Comparative Examples B and C, a reaction flask (a 4 necked round bottom flask equipped with mechanical stirrer, thermometer, and feed vessels) was placed into a cooling bath containing a mixture of isopropanol and dry ice. Approximately 200 g of the acetoacetamide-N-sulfonate triethylammonium salt solution and approximately 577 g of the sulfur trioxide/dichloromethane compositions were measured. The compositions were held for various time periods before the start of the cyclization reaction. Contact times for the respective examples are shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Contact Times
ExampleContact Time
Ex. 2 1 hour
Comp. Ex. B 4 days
Comp. Ex. C 5 days


[0110] For each example, the flask was placed into a cooling bath containing a mixture of isopropanol and dry ice. Approximately 15 wt% of the total sulfur trioxide/dichloromethane composition (approximately 87 g) was initially fed to the reaction flask under continuous agitation by mechanical stirrer. When the temperature of the reaction flask contents reached -35 °C (due to the cooling batch), the remainder of the sulfur trioxide/dichloromethane composition and all of the acetoacetamide-N-sulfonate triethylammonium salt solution were fed into the reaction flask. The time period that the solvent contacted the cyclizing agent before formation of the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct, e.g., before the acetoacetamide-N-sulfonate triethylammonium salt solution was fed to the reaction flask, was less than an hour. The feed rate was controlled in such a way that the temperature of the reaction flask contents remained between -25 ° and -35 °C during the feeding/cyclization reaction. After the reactants were fed, the reaction was allowed to proceed for approximately one additional minute. The cooling bath was then removed.

[0111] After approximately one minute, the temperature of the reaction flask contents reached approximately -22°C. At this time, hydrolysis was initiated by feeding deionized water to the reaction flask. Water was fed over 10 minutes. The hydrolysis reaction was exothermic. Water was added slowly so as to maintain temperature between -20 °C and -5 °C. After addition of water, reaction mixture was allowed to reach room temperature.

[0112] The hydrolyzed product was phase separated via a separating funnel. A heavier organic sweetener acid-dichloromethane phase (acesulfame-H composition) was separated out, and the remaining aqueous phase was discarded.

[0113] The acesulfame-H in the acesulfame-H composition was neutralized with a 10 % potassium hydroxide solution. Neutralization was carried out at 25°C ±1°C. Potassium hydroxide addition was completed within 20 minutes.

[0114] After completion of the neutralization step, an additional phase separation was performed using a separating funnel to yield an aqueous phase containing acesulfame potassium (and some impurities) and an organic phase. The aqueous phase is considered a crude acesulfame potassium composition. The aqueous phase analyzed for impurities, e.g., 5-chloro acesulfame potassium. Testing for 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium content was performed using the HPLC equipment and techniques discussed above. The remaining dichloromethane phase was discarded.

[0115] The results of the impurity analysis of Examples 1 and 2 and Comparative Examples A - C are shown in Table 2.
Table 2: 5-chloro Ace-K Content
 Contact Time5-chloro Ace-K (in crude), wppm
Ex. 1 < 5 min. Not detectable
Ex. 2 1 hour 32
Comp. Ex. A 20 days 4960
Comp. Ex. B 4 days 54
Comp. Ex. C 5 days 78


[0116] As shown in the Examples, the 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium content was affected by contact time. When a contact time of greater than 1 hour was employed (Comparative Examples A - C), significant amounts of 5-chloro acesulfame potassium were present in the crude acesulfame potassium composition. Importantly, when contact time was kept below 1 hour (Example 2), e.g., below 5 minutes (Example 1), then crude acesulfame potassium composition comprised much smaller amounts of 5-chloro acesulfame potassium.

[0117] Only minor and simple additional treatment of the crude acesulfame composition was necessary to form the finished acesulfame potassium compositions.

[0118] Approximately 50 % of water was evaporated out of the crude acesulfame potassium compositions in roti vapor at reduced pressure. The resultant concentrated acesulfame potassium composition is considered an intermediate acesulfame potassium composition and was then cooled in a refrigerator at + 5°C, which led to precipitation of crude crystals containing mostly acesulfame potassium.

[0119] The crude crystals were then dissolved in enough water and this resultant solution was heated to 70 °C. Activated carbon powder was then added to the solution. The solution (with the added activated carbon) was then filtered.

[0120] The filtrate that was yielded from the filtration was cooled to room temperature, which led to the formation of crystals containing mostly acesulfame potassium. These crystals were dissolved in sufficient water and heated to 70 °C in a water bath.

[0121] Activated carbon was added to this solution of crystals and activated carbon. This solution was then filtered. When filtrate was cooled down to room temperature, white-colored crystals of acesulfame potassium were formed. These crystals are considered a finished acesulfame potassium composition.

[0122] Testing for 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium content was performed using the HPLC equipment and techniques discussed above. The crystals of the finished acesulfame potassium composition contained the same amount (or slightly lower amounts) of 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.

[0123] The treatment steps did not show a marked reduction in 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium content. It is believed that because the chemical structure of chloro-acesulfame potassium is similar to that of acesulfame potassium, separation of chloro-acesulfame potassium using standard purification procedures such as crystallization is ineffective. This analysis demonstrates the importance of reducing/eliminating the production of 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium during the steps leading to the formation of the crude acesulfame composition as described herein.

[0124] While the invention has been described in detail, modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will be readily apparent to those of skill in the art. In view of the foregoing discussion, relevant knowledge in the art and references discussed above in connection with the Background and Detailed Description, the disclosures of which are all incorporated herein by reference. In addition, it should be understood that aspects of the invention and portions of various embodiments and various features recited above and/or in the appended claims may be combined or interchanged either in whole or in part. In the foregoing descriptions of the various embodiments, those embodiments which refer to another embodiment may be appropriately combined with other embodiments as will be appreciated by one of skill in the art. Furthermore, those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the foregoing description is by way of example only, and is not intended to limit the invention. The invention also relates to the following claims and aspects.

[0125] Aspects:
  1. 1. A process for producing a finished acesulfame potassium composition, the process comprising the steps of:
    1. (a) contacting a solvent and a cyclizing agent to form a cyclizing agent composition;
    2. (b) reacting an acetoacetamide salt with the cyclizing agent in the cyclizing agent composition to form a cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct; and
    3. (c) forming from the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium and less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium;
    wherein contact time from the beginning of step (a) to the beginning of step (b) is less than 60 minutes.
  2. 2. The process of aspect 1, wherein the forming comprises:

    hydrolyzing the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form an acesulfame-H composition comprising acesulfame-H;

    neutralizing the acesulfame-H in the acesulfame-H composition to form a crude acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium and less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium; and

    forming the finished acesulfame potassium composition from the crude acesulfame potassium composition.

  3. 3. The process of aspect 2, wherein the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.
  4. 4. The process of aspect 2, wherein the contact time is less than 15 minutes and the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium and the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.
  5. 5. The process of aspect 2, wherein the contact time is less than 5 minutes and the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium and the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 2.7 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.
  6. 6. The process of aspect 2, wherein the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.
  7. 7. The process of aspect 5, wherein the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises at least 90% by weight of the 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium present in the crude acesulfame potassium composition.
  8. 8. The process of aspect 2, wherein the hydrolyzing comprises adding water to the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form a hydrolysis reaction mixture, and wherein the temperature of the hydrolysis reaction mixture is maintained at a temperature ranging from -35 °C to 0 °C.
  9. 9. The process of aspect 8, wherein the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm organic impurities.
  10. 10. The process of aspect 1, further comprising:

    reacting sulfamic acid and an amine to form an amidosulfamic acid salt; and

    reacting the amidosulfamic acid salt and acetoacetylating agent to form the acetoacetamide salt.

  11. 11. The process of aspect 1, wherein the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 2.7 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.
  12. 12. The process of aspect 1, wherein the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm organic impurities.
  13. 13. The process of aspect 1, wherein the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm heavy metals.
  14. 14. The process of aspect 1, wherein the cyclizing agent composition comprises less than 1 wt% of compounds selected from chloromethyl chlorosulfate, methyl-bis-chlorosulfate, and mixtures thereof.
  15. 15. The process of aspect 1, wherein the reacting is conducted for a cyclization reaction time, from the start of the reactant feed to the end of the reactant feed, less than 35 minutes.
  16. 16. The process of aspect 1, wherein the weight ratio of solvent to cyclizing agent in the cyclizing agent composition is at least 1:1.
  17. 17. The process of aspect 1, further comprising cooling the cyclizing agent composition to a temperature less than 15°C.
  18. 18. The process of aspect 1, wherein the cyclizing agent comprises sulfur trioxide and the solvent comprises dichloromethane.
  19. 19. A finished acesulfame potassium composition produced from the process of aspect 1.
  20. 20. The finished acesulfame potassium composition of aspect 19, comprising:

    non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium;

    from 0.001 wppm to 2.7 wppm 5-chloro acesulfame potassium; and

    from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm heavy metals.

  21. 21. A process for producing a finished acesulfame potassium composition, the process comprising the steps of:

    reacting sulfamic acid and triethylamine to form an amidosulfamic acid salt;

    reacting the amidosulfamic acid salt and diketene to form the acetoacetamide salt;

    contacting dichloromethane and a sulfur trioxide to form a cyclizing agent composition;

    reacting the acetoacetamide salt with the sulfur trioxide in the cyclizing agent composition to form a cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct;

    hydrolyzing the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form an acesulfame-H composition; and

    neutralizing the acesulfame-H in the acesulfame-H composition to form crude acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium and less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium; and

    forming from crude acesulfame potassium composition the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium and less than 10 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium,

    wherein contact time from the beginning of step (a) to the beginning of step (b) is less than 10 minutes.

  22. 22. The process of aspect 21, further comprising cooling the cyclizing agent composition to a temperature less than 15°C.
  23. 23. An acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium and less than 35 wppm, preferably 0.001 wppm to 2.7 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.
  24. 24. The acesulfame potassium composition of aspect 23, further comprising less than 37 wppm, preferably 1 wppb to 5 wppm acetoacetamide-N-sulfonic acid.
  25. 25. The acesulfame potassium composition of aspect 23, further comprising 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm organic impurities and/or 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm of at least one heavy metal.
  26. 26. The acesulfame potassium composition of aspect 25, wherein the at least one heavy metal is selected from the group consisting of mercury, lead and mixtures thereof.
  27. 27. The acesulfame potassium composition of aspect 26, wherein the mercury is present in an amount of 1 wppb to 20 wppm.
  28. 28. The acesulfame potassium composition of aspect 26, wherein the lead is present in an amount of 1 wppb to 25 wppm.



Claims

1. A process for producing a finished acesulfame potassium composition, the process comprising the steps of:

(a) contacting a chlorine containing solvent and a cyclizing agent to form a cyclizing agent composition;

(b) reacting an acetoacetamide salt with the cyclizing agent in the cyclizing agent composition to form a cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct; and

(c) forming from the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium and less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium;

wherein contact time from the beginning of step (a) to the beginning of step (b) is less than 60 minutes.
 
2. The process of claim 1, wherein the contact time is less than 45 minutes, preferably less than 30 minutes.
 
3. The process of claims 1 or 2, wherein the forming comprises:

hydrolyzing the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form an acesulfame-H composition comprising acesulfame-H;

neutralizing the acesulfame-H in the acesulfame-H composition to form a crude acesulfame potassium composition comprising non-chlorinated acesulfame potassium and less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium; and

forming the finished acesulfame potassium composition from the crude acesulfame potassium composition.


 
4. The process of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.
 
5. The process of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the contact time is less than 15 minutes and the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium and the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.
 
6. The process of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the contact time is less than 5 minutes and the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 5 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium and the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 2.7 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.
 
7. The process of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the crude acesulfame potassium composition comprises less than 35 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.
 
8. The process of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises at least 90% by weight of the 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium present in the crude acesulfame potassium composition.
 
9. The process of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the hydrolyzing comprises adding water to the cyclic sulfur trioxide adduct to form a hydrolysis reaction mixture, and wherein the temperature of the hydrolysis reaction mixture is maintained at a temperature ranging from -35 °C to 0 °C.
 
10. The process of any one of the preceding claims, further comprising:

reacting sulfamic acid and an amine to form an amidosulfamic acid salt; and

reacting the amidosulfamic acid salt and acetoacetylating agent to form the acetoacetamide salt.


 
11. The process of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the finished acesulfame potassium composition comprises from 0.001 wppm to 2.7 wppm 5-chloro-acesulfame potassium.
 
12. The process of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the reacting is conducted for a cyclization reaction time, from the start of the reactant feed to the end of the reactant feed, less than 35 minutes.
 
13. The process of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the weight ratio of chlorine containing solvent to cyclizing agent in the cyclizing agent composition is at least 1:1.
 
14. The process of any one of the preceding claims, further comprising cooling the cyclizing agent composition to a temperature less than 15°C.
 
15. The process of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the cyclizing agent comprises sulfur trioxide and the chlorine containing solvent comprises dichloromethane.
 




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Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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Patent documents cited in the description