The preparation of [(2S,3S,4R)-3,4-dihydroxypyrrolidin-2-yl]furan derivatives in a stereoselective route starting from D-glucose and ethyl acetoacetate is presented. Ethyl ester (6), N,N-diethylamide (7) and N-isopropylamide (8) have been tested towards 25 glycosidases. Ester (6) is a selective inhibitor of beta-galactosidases. The new compounds represent a new type of imino-C-nucleoside analogues. (C) 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.