A new source of raw material: functionalized lignin oligomers

A new source of raw material: functionalized lignin oligomers


ITERG's Green chemistry and physical chemistry team is working on a new research project in collaboration with Henri Cramail from LCPO (Laboratoire de Chimie des Polymères Organiques).

Entitled Folide, it is led by Maëva Peloille.

The material valorization of industrial lignins has become a strategic issue for biorefineries. Among the range of potential valuations, the transformation into oligomers with original functionalities is very attractive.
Moreover, this transformation can be achieved by sustainable processes such as oxidative depolymerization in order to increase the proportion of carboxylic functions while reducing the molar mass and therefore the size dispersity and the physico-chemical properties such as solubility in water.

This new source of raw material, functionalized lignin oligomers, is ideal for the synthesis of surfactants whose hydrophobic part is constituted of fatty chains suitably functionalized in order to obtain esters or amides. These molecules will lead to particles in dispersion allowing the encapsulation of various active principles such as phytosanitary substances (natural or synthetic).

The aromatic structure of lignin oligomers associated with phenol functions will bring an additional stability to these molecules used for example in the treatment of crops and thus to a reduction of the quantities for a similar benefit.

The current work focuses on lignins and more precisely on their fractionation in order to separate the water soluble and insoluble fractions.

2022 publication by J. Rubinstein, E. Grau, P. Dole, G. Chollet: " Biobased Symmetrical Fatty Amides for High Heat Deflection Temperature of Poly(l-lactide)-Based Materials " (ACS Applied Polymer Materials, vol. 4, no. 10, 2022, pp. 7923-7933)