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Volume 190, 2016
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Developing energy efficient lignin biomass processing – towards understanding mediator behaviour in ionic liquids

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Environmental concerns have brought attention to the requirement for more efficient and renewable processes for chemicals production. Lignin is the second most abundant natural polymer, and might serve as a sustainable resource for manufacturing fuels and aromatic derivatives for the chemicals industry after being depolymerised. In this work, the mediator 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) diammonium salt (ABTS), commonly used with enzyme degradation systems, has been evaluated by means of cyclic voltammetry (CV) for enhancing the oxidation of the non-phenolic lignin model compound veratryl alcohol and three types of lignin (organosolv, Kraft and lignosulfonate) in the ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium ethyl sulfate, ([C2mim][C2SO4]). The presence of either veratryl alcohol or organosolv lignin increased the second oxidation peak of ABTS under select conditions, indicating the ABTS-mediated oxidation of these molecules at high potentials in [C2mim][C2SO4]. Furthermore, CV was applied as a quick and efficient way to explore the impact of water in the ABTS-mediated oxidation of both organosolv and lignosulfonate lignin. Higher catalytic efficiencies of ABTS were observed for lignosulfonate solutions either in sodium acetate buffer or when [C2mim][C2SO4] (15 v/v%) was present in the buffer solution, whilst there was no change found in the catalytic efficiency of ABTS in [C2mim][C2SO4]–lignosulfonate mixtures relative to ABTS alone. In contrast, organosolv showed an initial increase in oxidation, followed by a significant decrease on increasing the water content of a [C2mim][C2SO4] solution.

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The article was received on 16 Dec 2015, accepted on 07 Jan 2016 and first published on 07 Jan 2016

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5FD00226E
Citation: Faraday Discuss., 2016,190, 127-145
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    Developing energy efficient lignin biomass processing – towards understanding mediator behaviour in ionic liquids

    M. Eshtaya, A. Ejigu, G. Stephens, D. A. Walsh, G. Z. Chen and A. K. Croft, Faraday Discuss., 2016, 190, 127
    DOI: 10.1039/C5FD00226E

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