Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.97, No.24, 10309-10320, 2013
A novel and efficient polymerization of lignosulfonates by horseradish peroxidase/H2O2 incubation
Lignosulfonates(LSs), by-products from chemical pulping processes, are low-value products with limited dispersion properties. The ability of commercially available horseradish peroxidase (HRP) to polymerize LS macromolecules and improve the dispersion properties of LSs was investigated. The polymerization of LSs proceeded efficiently under mild reaction conditions in an aqueous solution with HRP/H2O2. Gel permeation chromatography showed a significant increase in weight-average molecular weight (M (w) ) of sulfonated kraft lignin and sodium lignosulfonate (NaLS) by 8.5-fold and 4.7-fold, respectively. The mechanism of polymerization was investigated by elemental analysis, surface charge measurement, headspace gas chromatography, infrared spectroscopy (IR), and hydrogen nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry (H-1-NMR). The functional group measurements indicated that HRP incubation did not reduce the sulfonic group content. However, it decreased the phenolic and methoxyl group contents. As the phenolic group content decreased, M (w) increased as a power function. The polymerization was proposed to involve the random coupling of phenoxy radical intermediates. The radicals coupled with each other to form different inter-unit linkages, most of which were the beta-O-4' type, as the H-1-NMR spectra indicated. Moreover, the HRP/H2O2 incubation induced a significant improvement in the adsorption and dispersion properties of LSs. Therefore, the HRP/H2O2 incubation is a promising approach for industrial applications of LSs.