Physico-chemical Properties of Lignin Fractions from Acid Pretreated Corn Stover and their Effects on Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Microcrystalline Cellulose

Haitao Yang, Yuhang Zhang, Chang Geun Yoo, Xianzhi Meng, Xiong Chen, Yunqiao Pu, Arthur J. Ragauskas, Lan Yao


Lignin has been shown to be a recalcitrance factor in many biomass conversion studies. To better understand the effects of lignin on cellulose conversion, different lignin fractions were extracted from the same dilute acid pretreated corn stover by three sequential isolation methods, namely ethanol extraction, dioxane extraction, and enzyme purification. The physicochemical properties of each lignin fraction including molecular weight distribution, surface area, surface charge, and other structural features varied, depending on the isolation methods. All three lignin fractions had negative surface charges, and ethanol-extracted lignin carried the highest surface charges, followed by dioxane-extracted lignin and cellulase-purified residual lignin. These physicochemical properties of lignin fractions also resulted in different extent of inhibitory effects on enzymatic hydrolysis of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC). Dioxane-extracted lignin exhibited the highest inhibitory effect on glucose release from MCC, followed by the cellulase-purified residual lignin fraction and ethanol-extracted lignin. Furthermore, lignin fractions with higher contents of syringyl (S) substructure and β-O-4 aryl ether interunit linkages showed a stronger negative effect on cellulase hydrolysis of MCC.


Lignin isolation; physico-chemical properties; Corn stover; Cellulase; Avicel

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