BACKGROUND: Lignin derivatives are phenylpropanoid biopolymers derived from pulping and biorefinery processes. The possibility to utilize lignin derivatives from different types of processes in advanced enzyme-catalyzed oxygen-scavenging systems intended for active packaging was explored. Laccase-catalyzed oxidation of alkali lignin (LA), hydrolytic lignin (LH), organosolv lignin (LO), and lignosulfonates (LS) was compared using oxygen-scavenging coatings and films in liquid and gas phase systems.<br /><br />RESULTS: When coatings containing lignin derivatives and laccase were immersed in a buffered aqueous solution, the oxygen-scavenging capability increased in the order LO < LH < LA < LS. Experiments with coatings containing laccase and LO, LH or LA incubated in oxygen-containing gas in air-tight chambers and at a relative humidity (RH) of 100% showed that paperboard coated with LO and laccase reduced the oxygen content from 1.0% to 0.4% during a four-day period, which was far better than the results obtained with LA or LH. LO-containing coatings incubated at 92% RH also displayed activity, with a decrease in oxygen from 1.0% to 0.7% during a four-day period. The oxygen scavenging was not related to the content of free phenolic hydroxyl groups, which increased in the order LO < LS < LH < LA. LO and LS were selected for further studies and films containing starch, clay, glycerol, laccase and LO or LS were characterized using gel permeation chromatograpy, dynamic mechanical analysis, and wet stability.<br /><br />CONCLUSIONS: The investigation shows that different lignin derivatives exhibit widely different properties as a part of active coatings and films. Results indicate that LS and LO were most suitable for the application studied and differences between them were attributed to a higher degree of laccase-catalyzed cross-linking of LS than of LO. Inclusion in active-packaging systems offers a new way to utilize some types of lignin derivatives from biorefining processes.
Johansson, K., Gillgren, T., Winestrand, S., Järnström, L., & Jönsson, L. J. (2014). Comparison of lignin derivatives as substrates for laccase-catalyzed scavenging of oxygen in coatings and films. Journal of Biological Engineering, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1754-1611-8-1