Lignin-enriched residues from bioethanol production: Chemical characterization, isocyanate functionalization and oil structuring properties

Int J Biol Macromol. 2022 Jan 15:195:412-423. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.11.185. Epub 2021 Dec 3.


Lignin-enriched waste products from bioethanol production of agriculture residues were tested as structuring agents in castor oil once functionalized with hexamethylene diisocyanate. Cane bagasse, barley and wheat straw were processed through steam explosion, pre-saccharification and simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (PSSF). Alternatively, cane bagasse was submitted to steam explosion and enzymatic hydrolysis (EH). Several Nuclear Magnetic Resonance techniques were used to characterize both residues and NCO-functionalized counterparts. The β-O-4'/resinol/phenylcoumaran content and hydroxyphenyl/guaiacyl/syringyl distribution depend on biomass source, pretreatment, and enzymatic hydrolysis. Total hydroxyl content (from 1.23 for cane bagasse to 1.85 for wheat straw residues), aromatic/aliphatic hydroxyl ratio (0.78 for cane bagasse and 0.61 and 0.49 for barley and wheat straw residues, respectively) and S/G ratio (ranging from 0.25 to 0.86) influence the NCO-functionalization and oleogel rheological response. Oleogels obtained with barley straw residues exhibited the highest values of the storage modulus; around 2 × 105 Pa and 104 Pa for 25% and 20% contents, respectively. PSSF process showed weaker modification, leading to softer viscoelastic response compared to EH. These oleogels exhibited rheological properties similar to lubricating greases of different NLGI grades. Therefore, we herein show an integrative protocol for the valorization of lignin-enriched residues from bioethanol production as potential thickeners of lubricating greases.

Keywords: Bioethanol residue; Lignin; Lubricating grease; NMR; Oleogel; Rheology.

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Cellulose / chemistry
  • Ethanol / chemistry
  • Ethanol / metabolism*
  • Fermentation / physiology
  • Hordeum / chemistry
  • Hydrolysis
  • Isocyanates / chemistry
  • Lignin / chemistry*
  • Lubricants / chemical synthesis
  • Organic Chemicals / chemistry
  • Steam
  • Triticum / chemistry


  • Isocyanates
  • Lubricants
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Steam
  • oleogels
  • Ethanol
  • Cellulose
  • Lignin
  • bagasse