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

Mika Henrikki Sipponen (Corresponding Author), Jenni Rahikainen, Timo Leskinen, Ville Pihlajaniemi, Maija-Liisa Mattinen, Heiko Lange, Claudia Crestini, Monika Österberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The main target of a biorefinery pretreatment process is to break down the ligninreinforced 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)550-571
Number of pages22
JournalNordic Pulp and Paper Research Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • lignin
  • structure
  • biomass
  • processing
  • enzymatic
  • saccharification
  • hydrolysis
  • non-productive
  • adsorption

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