Lignin is a complex natural polymer, which normally provides firmness to plant tissues. Currently, the scientific and commercial interests for aromatics and other lignin derived products is rapidly increasing as part of the integral Biorefinery concepts.
There are three types of lignins known, based on their composition:
- Hardwood lignin: various ratios of coniferyl/sinapyl alcohol residues
- Softwood lignin: primarily coniferyl moieties and only trace amounts of sinapyl alcohol moieties
- Monocots: grass-type, significant amounts of p-coumaryl alcohol residues.
All have the presence of aromatic compounds in common. The synthesis of lignins is a complicated process involving the peroxide-mediated linkage of mono-lignols to yield a complex that serves as a glue between the hemi-cellulose bundles.
Despite its importance in plant tissues and due to its limited degradability, lignin is often discarded as a low-value side or waste product in many Biorefinery processes, like for the production of chemicals or bio-ethanol, in which lignin is called 'non-fermentable'.
It is the objective of the Wageningen UR Lignin Platform to promote interdisciplinary research and to create a network on the valorization of lignin for the industrial production of lignin-derived chemicals and compounds.
Wageningen UR Lignin Platform
The Wageningen UR Lignin Platform is composed of a large number of outstanding scientists from quite different disciplines (see Participants, Projects and Publications) and a number of industrial sponsors.
Food & Biobased Research
The Wageningen UR Lignin Platform was initiated and is coordinated by the Wageningen UR research institute Food & Biobased Reseach.
Food & Biobased Research is part of Wageningen University & Research Centre. Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research is the R&D organisation for sustainable innovation in the areas of healthy food, sustainable fresh food chains and biobased products. National and international contracting authorities choose Food & Biobased Research because it is professional, provides innovative market-oriented solutions and has a high scientific standing. Food & Biobased Research works closely with these authorities to develop creative solutions to gear up for sustainable and profitable growth.