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Integrated fractionation process based on autohydrolysis (H) and subsequent formic acid delignification (FAD) has been considered as an effective strategy to separate the main lignocellulosic components in view of the biorefinery. For the better understanding of the structural changes of the lignin during the integrated process, the fractionated aspen lignins were thoroughly characterized by Fourier transform infrared (FT IR), 13C, two-dimensional heteronuclear single quantum coherence (2D-HSQC) and 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography (GPC), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). Compared to the milled wood lignin (MWL), the fractionated lignins had higher amounts of phenolic OH groups as due to the cleavage of β-O-4 linkages and less alcoholic OH groups mainly due to the esterification of the aliphatic OH groups by formic acid. Demethylation action of the lignin was not significant during the FAD process. More syringyl-propane (S) units were extracted during the H-FAD process than guaiacyl-propane (G) units resulting in a higher S/G ratio and more OCH3 in the fractionated lignins. Furthermore, autohydrolysis of aspen at higher temperature led to more condensation of the fractionated lignins which exhibited higher molecular weight and more β-5 and β-β linkages. The fractionated lignins exhibited high purities due to the breakage of the lignin-carbohydrate bonds. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Zhiyong Shao, Yingjuan Fu, Peng Wang, Yongchao Zhang, Menghua Qin, Xiaoliang Li, Fengshan Zhang. Modification of the aspen lignin structure during integrated fractionation process of autohydrolysis and formic acid delignification. International journal of biological macromolecules. 2020 Dec 15;165(Pt B):1727-1737

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PMID: 33058978

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