Lignin is an underutilized high-potential biopolymer that has been extensively studied over the past few decades. However, lignin still has drawbacks when compared with well-known petroleum-based equivalents, and the production of tailored lignin fractions is highly in demand. In this work, a new method for the fractionation of Lignoboost Kraft Lignin (LKL) is proposed by using two different hydrotropes: sodium xylenesulfonate (SXS) and sodium cumenesulfonate (SCS). The different fractions are obtained by sequentially decreasing the hydrotropic concentration with the addition of water. Four and three different fractions were retrieved from the use of SXS and SCS, respectively. The LKL and respective fractions were analysed, and compared by GPC, FTIR-ATR, 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR, 31P NMR, 2D HSQC and SEM. The fractions showed different molecular weights, polydispersity, and amount of functional groups. Our water-based lignin fractionation platform can potentially be combined with different lignin extraction and processing technologies, with the advantage of hydrotrope recycling.
Molecules 2023, 28(2), 687; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28020687