MORE | Spring 2024

Leveraging the Power of Ligninolytic Enzymes to Valorize Lignin to Polyvinyl Phenol

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Lignocellulosic biomass is a renewable carbon-rich resource from plants and has attracted focus as an alternative source to fossil fuels. This study valorized p-coumaric acid, a major constituent component in lignin, using engineered bacterium to convert into the substituted phenol, 4-vinylphenol. Then, using ligninolytic enzymes, 4-vinylphenol was polymerized into polyvinyl phenol, a biopolymer. 13C pathway analysis was conducted to determine metabolic utilization of the p-coumaric acid, and in situ experiments were conducted to polymerize the monomer phenols. The resulting polymer was characterized using NMR and SEC (GPC) analysis.

Student researcher

Haley Nicole McKeown

Chemical engineering

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2024