Structural changes of lignin in biorefinery pretreatments and consequences to enzyme-lignin interactions

Mika Sipponen, Jenni Rahikainen, Timo Leskinen, Ville Pihlajaniemi, Maija-Liisa Mattinen, Heiko Lange, Claudia Crestini, Monika Österberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
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The main target of a biorefinery pretreatment process is to break down the lignin-reinforced plant cell wall structure prior to enzymatic hydrolysis of polysaccharides to fermentable sugars. Various physico-chemical alterations occur in lignin during the biomass pretreatment, but effects of those structural changes on subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis have remained ambiguous. We review the reinforcing and detrimental lignin-enzyme interactions and their underlying mechanisms, and use this structure-function information to assess critical features of current and emerging pretreatment technologies. Our perspective is that truly multidisciplinary research is needed to develop pretreatments that render lignin non-inhibiting to enzymes and with high potential for further valorisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-568
JournalNordic Pulp & Paper Research Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Lignin
  • Structure
  • Biomass
  • Processing
  • Enzymatic
  • Saccharification
  • Hydrolysis
  • Non-productive
  • Adsorption


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