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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2014 Jun;27:38-45. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2013.09.008. Epub 2013 Oct 23.

Lignin plays a negative role in the biochemical process for producing lignocellulosic biofuels.

Author information

1
Biosciences Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO 80401, USA.
2
National Bioenergy Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO 80401, USA.
3
Biosciences Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO 80401, USA. Electronic address: Shi.you.Ding@nrel.gov.

Abstract

A biochemical platform holds the most promising route toward lignocellulosic biofuels, in which polysaccharides are hydrolyzed by cellulase enzymes into simple sugars and fermented to ethanol by microbes. However, these polysaccharides are cross-linked in the plant cell walls with the hydrophobic network of lignin that physically impedes enzymatic deconstruction. A thermochemical pretreatment process is often required to remove or delocalize lignin, which may also generate inhibitors that hamper enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation. Here we review recent advances in understanding lignin structure in the plant cell walls and the negative roles of lignin in the processes of converting biomass to biofuels. Perspectives and future directions to improve the biomass conversion process are also discussed.

PMID:
24863895
DOI:
10.1016/j.copbio.2013.09.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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