BACKGROUND: Lignin is a highly abundant biopolymer synthesized by plants as a complex component of plant secondary cell walls. Efforts to utilize lignin-based bioproducts are needed.
RESULTS: Herein we identify and characterize the composition and pyrolytic deconstruction characteristics of high-lignin feedstocks. Feedstocks displaying the highest levels of lignin were identified as drupe endocarp biomass arising as agricultural waste from horticultural crops. By performing pyrolysis coupled to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, we characterized lignin-derived deconstruction products from endocarp biomass and compared these with switchgrass. By comparing individual pyrolytic products, we document higher amounts of acetic acid, 1-hydroxy-2-propanone, acetone and furfural in switchgrass compared to endocarp tissue, which is consistent with high holocellulose relative to lignin. By contrast, greater yields of lignin-based pyrolytic products such as phenol, 2-methoxyphenol, 2-methylphenol, 2-methoxy-4-methylphenol and 4-ethyl-2-methoxyphenol arising from drupe endocarp tissue are documented.
CONCLUSIONS: Differences in product yield, thermal decomposition rates and molecular species distribution among the feedstocks illustrate the potential of high-lignin endocarp feedstocks to generate valuable chemicals by thermochemical deconstruction.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Mendu, Venugopal; Harman-Ware, Anne E.; Crocker, Mark; Jae, Jungho; Stork, Jozsef; Morton, Samuel; Placido, Andrew; Huber, George; and Debolt, Seth, "Identification and thermochemical analysis of high-lignin feedstocks for biofuel and biochemical production" (2011). Horticulture Faculty Publications. 16.