Grafting strategies for hydroxy groups of lignin for producing materials
Lignin is one of the most abundant biopolymers on Earth and is considered as the primary resource of aromatic compounds. Recently, lignin has attracted attention from scientists and industrialists due to its inherent potential arising from its unique structure, which leads to its possible use in many applications. Many efforts have been made to ameliorate the reactivity and compatibility of lignin in different areas. Although methods have been proposed for endowing lignin with different properties, there continues to be a considerable demand for discovering new and effective ways of unraveling the beneficial uses of this aromatic polymer. Considering the structure of lignin, different grafting modifications can occur on the aliphatic and/or aromatic groups of lignin. To date, there has been a lack of fundamental understanding of the modification pathways of lignin for generating lignin-based products. In this review paper, we discuss comprehensively the chemical reactions that were introduced in the literature for preparing lignin with different features via modifying its phenolic and aliphatic hydroxy groups for altered uses. This review paper critically and comprehensively elaborates on the recent progress in lignin reactions as well as the challenges, advantages and disadvantages associated with the reaction procedures and the product development processes. Furthermore, the research gap in reaction strategies and product development are described throughout this study.