A Brief Introduction to Lignin Structure

  • Authors: Kathahira, Rui; Elder, Thomas J.; Beckham, Gregg T.
  • Publication Year: 2018
  • Publication Series: Book Chapter
  • Source: Lignin Valorization: Emerging Approaches Energy and Environment Series No. 19
  • DOI: 10.1039/9781788010351-00001

Abstract

Lignocellulosic biomass is a vast resource for the sustainable production of renewable fuels, chemicals, and materials for mankind.1,2 Biomass, especially wood, has been used for millennia as a building and construction material for myriad applications and a source for heat as a fuel. The majority of mass in plants is in the cell walls, which are primarily composed of the polysaccharides cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin along with the alkylaromatic heteropolymer lignin. The three basic building blocks of lignin, p-coumaryl alcohol, coniferyl alcohol, and sinapyl alcohol, are synthesized via the phenylpropanoid pathway in plants and differ in their extent of methoxylation (0, 1, and 2, respectively).3 Lignin is synthesized via enzymatic dehydrogenation of these monomers, which form both C–O and C–C bonds, leading to a heterogeneous structure and a three-dimensional structure. As discussed briefly below, additional components of lignin such as hydroxycinnamic acids and flavonoids further complicate the structure and decorate the aromatic heteropolymer with additional linkages and chemical functionality.

  • Citation: Katahira, Rui; Elder, Thomas J.; Beckham, Gregg T. 2018. A Brief Introduction to Lignin Structure. In Lignin Valorization: Emerging Approaches; Beckham, Gregg T. Ed; Energy and Environment Series No. 19; The Royal Society of Chemistry: http://pubs.rsc.org, 1-20.
  • Posted Date: September 20, 2018
  • Modified Date: September 24, 2018
  • Requesting Print Publications

    Publication requests are subject to availability. Fiscal responsibility limits the hardcopies of publications we produce and distribute. Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, distributed and printed.

    Please make any requests at pubrequest@fs.fed.us.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.