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Enhancing Lignin Dispersion and Bioconversion by Eliminating Thermal Sterilization

  • Zhi-Min Zhao
    Zhi-Min Zhao
    School of Ecology and Environment, Key Laboratory of Ecology and Resource Use of the Mongolian Plateau (Ministry of Education), Inner Mongolia Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution Control & Wastes Reuse, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010021, China
    Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, United States
    More by Zhi-Min Zhao
  • Xianzhi Meng
    Xianzhi Meng
    Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, United States
    More by Xianzhi Meng
  • Manjula Senanayake
    Manjula Senanayake
    Neutron Scattering Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, United States
  • Sai Venkatesh Pingali
    Sai Venkatesh Pingali
    Neutron Scattering Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, United States
  • Yunqiao Pu
    Yunqiao Pu
    Joint Institute for Biological Sciences, Biosciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, United States
    More by Yunqiao Pu
  • Mi Li
    Mi Li
    Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, Center for Renewable Carbon, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, United States
    More by Mi Li
  • Litong Ma
    Litong Ma
    School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Inner Mongolia Key Laboratory of Coal Chemical Engineering & Comprehensive Utilization, Inner Mongolia University of Science & Technology, Baotou 014010, China
    More by Litong Ma
  • Jifei Xu
    Jifei Xu
    School of Ecology and Environment, Key Laboratory of Ecology and Resource Use of the Mongolian Plateau (Ministry of Education), Inner Mongolia Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution Control & Wastes Reuse, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010021, China
    More by Jifei Xu
  • , and 
  • Arthur J. Ragauskas*
    Arthur J. Ragauskas
    Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, United States
    Joint Institute for Biological Sciences, Biosciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, United States
    Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, Center for Renewable Carbon, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, United States
    *Email: [email protected]
Cite this: ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2022, 10, 10, 3245–3254
Publication Date (Web):February 28, 2022
https://doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c07787
Copyright © 2022 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract

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    Thermal sterilization is widely applied in fermentation to ensure a pure culture. In this study, a facile and energy-efficient strategy by eliminating thermal sterilization (ETS) was unveiled for upgrading lignin bioconversion. Through alkaline solubilization and neutralization, lignin dispersion in aqueous fermentation media was significantly enhanced by ETS. Small-angle X-ray scattering and dynamic light scattering analyses indicated that the lignin colloid size was dramatically reduced. Compared to 20.5 wt % lignin precipitation during the conventional thermal sterilization, precipitated lignin was not observed within the ETS medium. 31P NMR characterization demonstrated an 11.7% increase of phenolic OH in ETS lignin. Ionization of phenolic OH presented more negatively charged groups, strengthening electrostatic repulsion, resulting in smaller colloidal particles. Interestingly, the pure culture of Rhodococcus opacus PD630 was achieved within the ETS medium due to the lack of lignin degradation ability with most natural microbes. R. opacus PD630 cell amount, lignin degradation, and lipid production by ETS increased by 330, 16.6, and 20.7%, respectively. Overall, an energy-efficient ETS strategy that promoted lignin dispersion and bioconversion significantly is reported in this study.

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c07787.

    • Effects of thermal sterilization on colloidal lignin hydrodynamic size distribution and variations of molecular-weight distribution of ETS and CTS lignin during fermentation (PDF)

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    Cited By

    This article is cited by 2 publications.

    1. Zhi-Min Zhao, Xianzhi Meng, Yunqiao Pu, Mi Li, Yibing Li, Yihan Zhang, Fang Chen, Arthur J. Ragauskas. Bioconversion of Homogeneous Linear C-Lignin to Polyhydroxyalkanoates. Biomacromolecules 2023, 24 (9) , 3996-4004. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.3c00288
    2. Reeya Agrawal, Anjan Kumar, Sangeeta Singh, Kamal Sharma. Recent advances and future perspectives of lignin biopolymers. Journal of Polymer Research 2022, 29 (6) https://doi.org/10.1007/s10965-022-03068-5