Among the most abundant biopolymers in the biosphere, lignin represents an untapped opportunity to create novel bioproducts. In this article, we discuss possibilities to synthesize nano- and microparticles by harnessing lignin's inherent tendency to associate and to develop new material compositions and functions by controlling its capacity to assemble into supramolecular structures. Because lignin is biodegradable, antimicrobial, antioxidative, and carbon neutral, inexpensive industrial lignin streams could generate value-added particulate materials that preserve the structure, composition, and colloidal features inherent to this macromolecule. We present available routes for synthesis or isolation of lignin particles, including antisolvent and aerosol processing. Metallic and polymeric lignin particle hybrids for magnetic, antibacterial, catalytic, photonic, and other applications are also discussed. Overall, the facile formation of nano- and microparticles from lignins is expected to open new pathways toward future material development.
- surface chemistry