Synergistic Effects between Lignin Genetic Variants and Maleic Acid Catalysis

Synergistic Effects Results We established tandem catalytic reactions for deoxygenation of molecules derived from cellulose and xylan. We developed a dual-function maleic acid catalyst that fractionates intact biomass to yield water-soluble pentoses that convert to furfural at high yields (>70%) when the reaction temperature is raised (Kim et al. 2012). Chemists and biologists revealed an impact of maleic acid catalysis on cell-cell adhesion when applied to biomass with modified (high syringyl) lignin composition. By gaining control over lignin composition and structure via modifying expression of enzymes in the lignin biosynthetic pathway, the synergistic impact is to disrupt the middle lamella between cells upon treatment with maleic acid (Ciesielski et al. 2014). This has the potential to dramatically reduce energy inputs for biomass comminution.

Synergistic Effects Results


Ciesielski PN, Resch MG, Hewetson B, Killgore JP, Curtin A, Anderson N, Chiaramonti AN, Hurley DC, Sanders A, Himmel ME, Chapple C, Mosier N, Donohoe BS (2014) Engineering plant cell walls:tuning lignin monomer composition for deconstructable biofuel feedstocks or resilient biomaterials. Green Chem. 16:2627-2635.

Kim E, Liu S, Abu-Omar MM, Mosier NS (2012) Selective conversion of biomass hemicellulose to furfural using maleic acid with microwave heating” Energy Fuels 26:1298-1304.