Hydrotropic extraction of birch lignin

In this work an environmentally friendly hydrotropic process was used to extract lignin from industrial birch wood chips. Two hydrotropic treatments were performed, a conventional and a modified process. The lignins were characterized using FTIR, pyrolysis–gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (pyrolysis-GC-MS), 31P and 1H–13C HSQC NMR, and size exclusion chromatography (SEC). The chemical (carbohydrates, extractives, etc.) and elemental compositions of the lignins were also determined. The yields of both lignins were 16.1% (dry wood basis), and the obtained lignins had very low contents of non-lignin compounds. The treatments resulted in significant changes of the structure of the lignins, a decrease in aliphatic hydroxyls and an increase in phenolic ones. The lignin isolated by the modified treatment underwent more substantial change than the reference one. It is believed that the data presented will facilitate utilization of hydrotropic lignin and promote the adoption of the hydrotropic process in the pulp and biorefinery industry.

Konstantin Gabov, Richard J. A. Gosselink, Annika I. Smeds, and Pedro Fardim, J. Agric. Food Chem., 2014, 62 (44), pp 10759–10767 DOI: 10.1021/jf5037728

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