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Engineering Plant Biomass Lignin Content and Composition for Biofuels and Bioproducts

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  • Cassie Marie Welker

    () (Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute, Department of Plant & Soil Science, Texas Tech University, 2802 15th Street, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA)

  • Vimal Kumar Balasubramanian

    () (Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute, Department of Plant & Soil Science, Texas Tech University, 2802 15th Street, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA)

  • Carloalberto Petti

    () (Department of Science and Health, Carlow Institute of Technology, Kilkenny Rd, Carlow R93V960, Ireland)

  • Krishan Mohan Rai

    () (Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute, Department of Plant & Soil Science, Texas Tech University, 2802 15th Street, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA)

  • Seth DeBolt

    () (Department of Horticulture, University of Kentucky, 1100 Nicholasville Road, Lexington, KY 40546, USA)

  • Venugopal Mendu

    () (Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute, Department of Plant & Soil Science, Texas Tech University, 2802 15th Street, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA)

Abstract

Lignin is an aromatic biopolymer involved in providing structural support to plant cell walls. Compared to the other cell wall polymers, i.e. , cellulose and hemicelluloses, lignin has been considered a hindrance in cellulosic bioethanol production due to the complexity involved in its separation from other polymers of various biomass feedstocks. Nevertheless, lignin is a potential source of valuable aromatic chemical compounds and upgradable building blocks. Though the biosynthetic pathway of lignin has been elucidated in great detail, the random nature of the polymerization (free radical coupling) process poses challenges for its depolymerization into valuable bioproducts. The absence of specific methodologies for lignin degradation represents an important opportunity for research and development. This review highlights research development in lignin biosynthesis, lignin genetic engineering and different biological and chemical means of depolymerization used to convert lignin into biofuels and bioproducts.

Suggested Citation

  • Cassie Marie Welker & Vimal Kumar Balasubramanian & Carloalberto Petti & Krishan Mohan Rai & Seth DeBolt & Venugopal Mendu, 2015. "Engineering Plant Biomass Lignin Content and Composition for Biofuels and Bioproducts," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(8), pages 1-23, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jeners:v:8:y:2015:i:8:p:7654-7676:d:53264
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. van Duren, Iris & Voinov, Alexey & Arodudu, Oludunsin & Firrisa, Melese Tesfaye, 2015. "Where to produce rapeseed biodiesel and why? Mapping European rapeseed energy efficiency," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 49-59.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:rensus:v:76:y:2017:i:c:p:309-322 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Guangzai Nong & Zongwen Zhou & Shuangfei Wang, 2015. "Generation of Hydrogen, Lignin and Sodium Hydroxide from Pulping Black Liquor by Electrolysis," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(1), pages 1-11, December.
    3. repec:gam:jeners:v:9:y:2015:i:1:p:13:d:61320 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:rensus:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:914-923 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:renene:v:124:y:2018:i:c:p:197-201 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    plant cell wall; lignocellulose; lignin; depolymerization; genetic engineering; degradation; pyrolysis; hydrogenolysis;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q47 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy Forecasting
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q49 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Other

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