Aqueous acetone fractionation of kraft, organosolv and soda lignins

Juan Domínguez-Robles, Tarja Tamminen, Tiina Liitiä, Maria Soledad Peresin, Alejandro Rodríguez, Anna-Stiina Jääskeläinen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    150 Citations (Scopus)


    Technical lignins are structurally heterogeneous and polydisperse. This work describes the use of a simple and green method for lignin fractionation, using different proportions of acetone (40 and 60%) in water. Lignins from three different sources (wheat straw organosolv lignin, wheat straw soda lignin and softwood kraft lignin) were used in this fractionation protocol. The obtained fractions showed different molar mass and functional groups. The lower molar mass fractions showed more phenolic hydroxyl groups and carboxylic acid moieties than higher molar mass fractions, which also possessed much higher amounts of carbohydrates. The chemical characterization of these fractionated lignins showed that the PREC fraction was exceptionally pure and homogeneous lignin. Its total lignin content was >96% for all three lignins and it was practically free from carbohydrates and inorganics (ash). Furthermore, PREC fraction possessed the highest carbon content for the three lignin samples (63.05-69.26%). These results illustrate that the proposed aqueous acetone fractionation protocol could indeed produce pure and uniform lignin fraction and it was applicable for lignins from different sources.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)979-987
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
    Early online date2017
    Publication statusPublished - 2018
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • molar mass distribution
    • solvent fractionation
    • technical lignins


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