A field of dreams: Lignin valorization into chemicals, materials, fuels, and health-care products

Biotechnol Adv. 2019 Nov 1;37(6):107360. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2019.02.016. Epub 2019 Apr 6.


Lignin is one of the most abundant renewable resources on earth and is readily produced as a sidestream during biomass fractioning. So far, these large quantities of lignin have been severely underutilized, thereby wasting this valuable renewable. Recent technological advances in lignin recovery, breakdown, and conversion have now started forming the first sustainable value chains to take advantage of lignin. Microbial cell factories, inspired by nature's miscellaneous set of lignin-degrading microbes, are at the heart of these novel processes. Recent success stories in which the enzymes and pathways of these microbes were harnessed for biobased production from lignin hold great promise for a sustainable upgrading of this renewable polymer into value-added compounds.

Keywords: Amycolatopsis sp.; Aromatics; Biotransformation; Catechol; Cis,cis-muconic acid; Corynebacterium glutamicum; Laccase; Lignocellulose; Peroxidase; Pseudomonas putida; Sphingomonas paucimobilis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Lignin / chemistry*


  • Lignin