Biological Lignin Valorization

Research output: NRELPresentation


Given lignin's heterogeneity, catalytic depolymerization results in aromatic compound mixtures, and conversion of this complex substrate to a single product is challenging. To that end, the Biological Lignin Valorization (BLV) project is pursuing biological funneling, wherein aromatic catabolic microbes are engineered to convert a mixture of lignin-derived compounds to a single product. Namely, we employ Pseudomonas putida and pursue atom-efficient products, such as muconic acid, which can be further converted to direct replacements or used in performance-advantaged bioproducts. Overall, biological lignin conversion can make major contributions to reduce the minimum fuel selling price of the integrated biorefinery. Early industrial efforts in this area are also leading to value-added products, including in collaboration with the BLV project. Primary challenges associated with BLV efforts include accessing bio-available monomers from lignin (with the Lignin Utilization project), enabling commercial titers, rates, and yields of bioproducts from lignin-derived compounds, and overcoming substrate and product toxicity. To date, we have 1) demonstrated 49 g/L of muconate from aromatic compounds and 4 g/L of muconate from lignin, 2) improved the toxicity tolerance of P. putida to key aromatic substrates, 3) debottlenecked biological funneling for higher rates, and 4) engineered P. putida to convert S, G, and H-type lignin-derived compounds to a single product.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) 2021 Project Peer Review, 8-12, 15-16, and 22-26 March 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-2A00-79488


  • conversion
  • depolymerization
  • heterogeneity
  • lignin


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