Lupoi, J.S., S. Singh, R. Parthasarathi, B.A. Simmons and R.J. Henry, “Recent Innovations in Analytical Methods for the Qualitative and Quantitative Assessment of Lignin” , Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol. 49(1), pp. 871-906, 2015. DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2015.04.091
As the attraction of creating biofuels and bio-based chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass has increased, researchers have been challenged with developing a better understanding of lignin structure, quantity and potential uses. Lignin has frequently been considered a waste-product from the deconstruction of plant cell walls, in attempts to isolate polysaccharides that can be hydrolyzed and fermented into fuel or other valuable commodities. In order to develop useful applications for lignin, accurate analytical instrumentation and methodologies are required to qualitatively and quantitatively assess, for example, what the structure of lignin looks like or how much lignin comprises a specific feedstock׳s cellular composition. During the past decade, various diverse strategies have been employed to elucidate the structure and composition of lignin. These techniques include using two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance to resolve overlapping spectral data, measuring biomass with vibrational spectroscopy to enable modeling of lignin content or monomeric ratios, methods to probe and quantify the linkages between lignin and polysaccharides, or refinements of established methods to provide higher throughput analyses, less use of consumables, etc. This review seeks to provide a comprehensive overview of many of the advancements achieved in evaluating key lignin attributes. Emphasis is placed on research endeavored in the last decade.
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