Improvement of kraft pulping delignification efficiency and value-addition of industrial kraft lignin are two attractive topics. The proposal that delignification is deteriorated by the presence of lignin-carbohydrate complex (LCC) is still being debated. Therefore, it is theoretically and practically important to investigate various LCC structures from native wood and their changes during different treatments. Currently, however, there is no effective LCC fractionation method that could quantitatively isolate all LCC fractions and be applicable for all types of lignocellulosic materials. The fractionation should also be followed by comprehensive and reliable structural characterisation. Additionally the Kraft lignin has a heterogeneous structure and poor properties. Structural modification is therefore one possible solution for creating more economical benefits than the presently direct combustion for heat.
In this work, an LCC fractionation method has been developed, which preserves original lignin and lignin-carbohydrate (LC) bonding structures and is nearly quantitative. It is universally applicable for hardwood, softwood or non-wood species. A whole set of subsequent analytical tools for the comprehensive elucidation of the different LCC fractions has also been established and applied. After applying the LCC fractionation and characterisation:
1). spruce wood was found to consist of 49.5% glucan-lignin (GL), 30.9% glucomannan–lignin (GML) and 12.0% xylan–lignin (XL). Although the LC and lignin-lignin (LL) linkage signals could not be directly observed by a 400 MHz NMR instrument, these linkages have been clearly observed by a 600 MHz NMR instrument equipped with a cryogenic probe after enzymatic hydrolysis. The LC bondings include phenyl glycoside, benzyl ether and γ-ester. Based on the LL bond frequencies, GML is less condensed than XL.
2). a general lignin biodegradation mechanism by the laccase-mediator system (LMS) has been proposed, which mainly involves Cα oxidation and Cα-Cβ bond cleavage of the lignin side chain and eventually aromatic ring cleavage. The LMS delignification efficiency depends largely on the species of the applied laccase and mediator. Some LMS has been proven to possess an obvious capacity for hexenuronic acid (HexA) removal. For Kraft pulp bleaching, there are potential benefits of various combinations among biological treatment (by LMS), non-oxidative chemical (by urea treatment, U), and mechanical treatment (by refining, R).
In addition, it has been demonstrated in this work that the structures and properties of industrial softwood Kraft lignin (LignoBoost lignin) could largely be upgraded by amination via the Mannich reaction. With or without a phenolation pretreatment, the aminated lignins obtained are promising polycationic materials, especially in the application as colloidal suspensions. During this investigation of kraft lignin amination, NMR methods have been developed for the quantification of the N content introduced and for the deepened insights of the structural changes of the lignin.
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2013. , 65 p.