Structural Changes of Lignin after Ionic Liquid Pretreatment

Shu Hong, Hailan Lian, Mingzhu Pan, Ling Chen


Changes of lignin’s structure were investigated resulting from an ionic liquid ([Bmim]Cl,1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride salt) pretreatment. The purified lignin was pretreated by [Bmim]Cl under the following conditions: the ionic liquid to lignin mass ratio was 10:1, the temperature was 85 °C, and the processing time was 2 h and 4 h. The chemical structure of lignin was studied via Ultraviolet (UV) spectra, Fourier Transform infrared (FT-IR) spectra, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (13C-NMR), Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and Thermogravimetric Analysis (TG). The total content of phenolic hydroxyl increased with increased time. Moreover, the contents of [OHI] and [OHII] (types of phenolic hydroxyl groups) groups were disproportionately increased. The main structure of lignin still was present after the [Bmim]Cl pretreatment. The β-O-4 linkages were broken apart. The degree of lignin degeneration increased with increased time, after being pre-treated with [Bmim]Cl. Simultaneously, a condensation reaction also took place during the pretreatment. Understanding the chemical changes to wheat straw lignin during an ionic liquid pretreatment provides an important theoretical basis for its further industrial use.


Ionic liquid; Lignin; Degradation

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