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Title: Conversion of lignin into value-added materials and chemicals via laccase-assisted copolymerization

With today’s environmental concerns and the diminishing supply of the world’s petroleum-based chemicals and materials, much focus has been directed toward alternative sources. Woody biomass presents a promising option due to its sheer abundance, renewability, and biodegradability. Lignin, a highly irregular polyphenolic compound, is one of the major chemical constituents of woody biomass and is the second most abundant biopolymer on Earth, surpassed only by cellulose. The pulp and paper and cellulosic ethanol industries produce lignin on the scale of millions of tons each year as a by-product. Traditionally, lignin has been viewed as a waste material and burned as an inefficient fuel. However, in recent decades, research has focused on more economical ways to convert lignin into value-added commodities, such as biofuels, biomaterials, and biochemicals, thus developing and strengthening the concept of fully integrated biorefineries. Owing to the phenolic structure of lignin, it is possible to enzymatically graft molecules onto its surface using laccases (benzenediol:oxygen oxidoreductases, EC to create exciting novel biomaterials. These environmentally friendly enzymes use oxygen as their only co-substrate and produce water as their sole by-product, and have thus found great industrial application. Furthermore, this mini-review highlights recent advances in the field of laccase-facilitated functionalizationmore » of lignin as well as promising future directions for lignin-based polymers.« less
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Knoxville, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 100; Journal Issue: 20; Journal ID: ISSN 0175-7598
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Joint Institute for Biological Sciences (JIBS)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; biomaterials; copolymerization; functionalization laccase; lignin; sustainability
OSTI Identifier: