Fractionation, characterization, and valorization of lignin derived from engineered plants

Enshi Liu, Wenqi Li, Seth DeBolt, Sue E. Nokes, Jian Shi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


There is an urgent need to address the societal and sustainability challenges in the food, energy, and water (FEW) nexus at the global level. Research on improving the efficiency and sustainability of lignocellulosic conversion technologies and development of biomass feedstocks that are amenable to pretreatments has become a focus of the research community over the past few years. Genetic manipulation of lignin is a promising approach to generate biomass feedstocks with favorable properties. However, it is relatively unexplored in the area of understanding the effects of lignin modification on fractionation, characterization, and upgrading of lignin streams from engineered biomass feedstocks. There is a knowledge gap in linking the chemical complexity of lignin with its biological, spatial, and functional deposition with respect to how to separate and utilize the feedstock in a biorefinery. This knowledge is necessary for development of lignin-engineered plants and downstream processing technologies. This review recapitulates recent progress in lignin genetic modification and the leading technologies to fractionate and characterize lignin streams. Possible lignin valorization pathways including oxidative and reductive catalysis, electrocatalysis, and biological upgrading, in particular for use with engineered biomass feedstocks, are also discussed. Challenges and the outlook for future development are also briefly reviewed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmerging Technologies for Biorefineries, Biofuels, and Value-Added Commodities
Number of pages44
ISBN (Electronic)9783030655846
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021. All rights reserved.


  • Biomass
  • Biorefinery
  • Catalysis
  • Lignin biosynthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Chemical Engineering


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