Synergistic benefits from a lignin-first biorefinery of poplar via coupling acesulfamate ionic liquid followed by mild alkaline extraction

Jikun Xu*, Lin Dai, Yang Gui, Lan Yuan, Chuntao Zhang, Yang Lei

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A novel mind-set, termed lignin-first biorefinery, is bewitching to synchronously boost lignin output for entirely lignocellulosic utilization. A lignin-first fractionation, using a food-additive derived ionic liquid (1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acesulfamate, emimAce) and mild alkaline pretreatments, was formed for the purposely isolating poplar lignin, whilst delivering a cellulose-rich substrate that can be easily available for enzymatic digestion. The emimAce-driven lignin, alkali-soluble lignin and hemicellulose, and accessible cellulose were sequentially gained. We introduce a lignin-first approach to extract the amorphous fractions, destroy the robust architecture, and reform cellulose-I to II, thereby advancing the cellulose bioconversion from 15.4 to 90.5%. A harvest of 70.7% lignin, 52.1% hemicellulose, and 330.1 mg/g glucose was fulfilled from raw poplar. A structural ‘‘beginning-to-end’’ analysis of lignin inferred that emimAce ions are expected to interact with lignin β-aryl-ether due to their aromatic character. It was reasonable to derive benefits from lignin-first technique that can substantially augment the domain of biorefinering.
Original languageEnglish
Article number122888
JournalBioresource Technology
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Lignin-first biorefinery
  • Ionic liquid
  • Alkaline pretreatment
  • Hemicellulose
  • Enzymatic hydrolysis

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