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A critical review on the analysis of lignin carbohydrate bonds

Giummarella, Nicola, Pu, Yunqiao, Ragauskas, Arthur J., Lawoko, Martin
Green chemistry 2019 v.21 no.7 pp. 1573-1595
analytical methods, biomass, biopolymers, biorefining, cell walls, chemical bonding, fractionation, green chemistry, lignin, lignocellulose
Replacing fossil-based resources with renewable alternatives is generally acknowledged as a critical component to address several of today's environmental concerns. In this context, lignocellulosic biomass is an attractive, sustainable resource. However, the constitutional biopolymers of interest are locked in the structural complexity of the plant cell walls, which defines their properties and contributes to fractionation recalcitrance. One of the key suspects restricting fractionation of the biopolymers in high yield is the presence of lignin–carbohydrate bonds forming a matrix referred to as lignin–carbohydrate complex (LCC). Nevertheless, covalent bonds between lignin and carbohydrates, remain one of the most controversial topics in lignocellulose chemistry. This challenge can be attributed to the slow progress made in their research, which also forms the basis for this review. Herein, we will critically discuss the literature with a particular focus on the latest characterization and analytical techniques. Discussions on existing techniques and, importantly the drawbacks with them should be compelling to researchers in the area, especially at this time when crucial issues surrounding the realization of biorefineries need to be addressed.