Protection Group Effects During alpha,gamma-Diol Lignin Stabilization Promote High-Selectivity Monomer Production

Lan, W., Amiri, M. T., Hunston, C. M., & Luterbacher, J. S.

Protection groups were introduced during biomass pretreatment to stabilize lignin’s α,γ-diol group during its extraction and prevent its condensation. Acetaldehyde and propionaldehyde stabilized the α,γ-diol without any aromatic ring alkylation, which significantly increased final product selectivity. The subsequent hydrogenolysis catalyzed by Pd/C generated lignin monomers at near-theoretical yields based on Klason lignin (48 % from birch, 20 % from spruce, 70 % from high-syringyl transgenic poplar), and with high selectivity to a single 4-n-propanolsyringol product (80 %) in the case of the poplar. Unlike direct hydrogenation of native wood, hydrogenolysis of protected lignin with Ni/C also led to high selectivity to this single product (78 %), paving the way to high-selectivity lignin upgrading with base metal catalysts. The use of extracted lignin facilitated valorization of polysaccharides, leading to high yields of all three major biomass polymers to a single major product.

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