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J Biol Eng. 2014 Jan 2;8(1):1. doi: 10.1186/1754-1611-8-1.

Comparison of lignin derivatives as substrates for laccase-catalyzed scavenging of oxygen in coatings and films.

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Department of Chemistry, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden.



Lignin derivatives are phenylpropanoid biopolymers derived from pulping and biorefinery processes. The possibility to utilize lignin derivatives from different types of processes in advanced enzyme-catalyzed oxygen-scavenging systems intended for active packaging was explored. Laccase-catalyzed oxidation of alkali lignin (LA), hydrolytic lignin (LH), organosolv lignin (LO), and lignosulfonates (LS) was compared using oxygen-scavenging coatings and films in liquid and gas phase systems.


When coatings containing lignin derivatives and laccase were immersed in a buffered aqueous solution, the oxygen-scavenging capability increased in the order LO < LH < LA < LS. Experiments with coatings containing laccase and LO, LH or LA incubated in oxygen-containing gas in air-tight chambers and at a relative humidity (RH) of 100% showed that paperboard coated with LO and laccase reduced the oxygen content from 1.0% to 0.4% during a four-day period, which was far better than the results obtained with LA or LH. LO-containing coatings incubated at 92% RH also displayed activity, with a decrease in oxygen from 1.0% to 0.7% during a four-day period. The oxygen scavenging was not related to the content of free phenolic hydroxyl groups, which increased in the order LO < LS < LH < LA. LO and LS were selected for further studies and films containing starch, clay, glycerol, laccase and LO or LS were characterized using gel permeation chromatograpy, dynamic mechanical analysis, and wet stability.


The investigation shows that different lignin derivatives exhibit widely different properties as a part of active coatings and films. Results indicate that LS and LO were most suitable for the application studied and differences between them were attributed to a higher degree of laccase-catalyzed cross-linking of LS than of LO. Inclusion in active-packaging systems offers a new way to utilize some types of lignin derivatives from biorefining processes.

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