About this Research Topic
Lignin represents the largest renewable aromatic raw material for the preparation of sustainable chemicals, fuels, and materials. Currently, over 60 million tons of lignin are generated annually as by-products from the pulp & paper industry and biorefinery processes, while most of them are far from being utilized rationally. The valorization of lignin to valuable products has become the research hotspot, and tremendous research papers related to this effort have been published. However, most strategies involving lignin valorization employ harsh conditions and/or hazardous reagents, which greatly prevents them from industrial applications. The conversion of lignin to valuable products under mild and green conditions, e.g., by using bioengineering or biochemical methods, has attracted extensive research interests, and this is particularly motivated by the climate mitigation goals and set to be the next research emphasis of biomass utilization. In this Research Topic, recent advancements in the conversion of lignin to a valuable product under mild and green conditions will be introduced.
Lignin is a highly heterogenous bio-aromatic polymer with poor solubility in common solvents, broad distribution in chemical bonds, high recondensation reactivity in degradation intermediates, and very complexity in final products, making the selective conversion of lignin to valuable products extremely challenging. Recent advances in this Research Topic that aim at overcoming the challenges include 1. Genetic modifications of lignin structures during its biosynthesis; 2. Separation of lignin with high purity and low condensation during lignocellulose pretreatment; 3. Pre-activation of lignin before its selective conversion; 4. Screening of highly effective enzymes and/or microbes for lignin degradation; 5. Use of combined strategies, e.g., physical-biological or chemical-biological methods, for lignin conversion.
The Research Topic aimed to showcase the research findings to unravel the current understanding of the lignin structure and development of its valorization methods at the global level. We provide an excellent platform for the scientists to showcase their findings to the global audience through the innovative peer review and open access model of the Frontiers. Original research and review articles are welcome from the experts of this field throughout the world with studies related to lignin structure characterization, biosynthetic pathways, separation and purification, modification and pre-activation, biological and chemical conversion in biorefineries to value addition of lignin. Studies dealing with fundamental, interdisciplinary, analytical, biotechnological, biochemical approaches for the lignin valorization will be given due consideration.
Keywords: Lignin, Bio-refinery, Biodegradation, Chemical Compounds, Bioenergy, Biofuels, Materials
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.