Characterisation of Authentic Lignin Biorefinery Samples by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and Determination of the Chemical Formula for Lignin

Duy Michael Le, Anders Damgaard Nielsen, Hanne Sørensen, Anne S. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Efficient methods for lignin characterisation are increasingly important as the field of lignin valorisation is growing with the increasing use of lignocellulosic feedstocks, such as wheat straw and corn stover, in biorefineries. In this study, we characterised a set of authentic lignin biorefinery samples in situ with no prior purification and minimal sample preparation. Lignin chemical formulas and lignin Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra were extracted from mixed spectra by filtering out signals from residual carbohydrates and minerals. From estimations of C, H and O and adjustment for cellulose and hemicelluloses contents, the average chemical formula of lignin was found to be C9H10.2O3.4 with slight variations depending on the biomass feedstock and processing conditions (between C9H9.5O2.8 and C9H11.1O3.6). Extracted FTIR lignin spectra showed many of the same characteristic peaks as organosolv and kraft lignin used as benchmark samples. Some variations in the lignin spectra of biorefinery lignin residue samples were found depending on biomass feedstock (wheat straw, corn stover or poplar) and on pretreatment severity, especially in the absorbance of bands at 1267 and 1032 cm−1 relative to the strong band at ~1120 cm−1. The suggested method of FTIR spectral analysis with adjustment for cellulose and hemicellulose is proposed to provide a fast and efficient way of analysing lignin in genuine lignin samples resulting from biorefineries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBioenergy Research
Volume10
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1025-1035
ISSN1939-1234
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • FTIR
  • Lignin spectra
  • Elemental composition
  • Wheat straw
  • Poplar
  • Corn stover

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