Lignin-Based Materials: Structure, Properties, and Applications (2nd Edition)

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomacromolecules, Biobased and Biodegradable Polymers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2024 | Viewed by 1644

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
“Materials + Technologies” Research Group (GMT), Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Plaza Europa 1, 20018 San Sebastian, Spain
Interests: lignin chemistry and valorization; lignin conversion processes; chemical modification of lignin; bio-based products and materials; natural additives; lignocellulosic biomass and biorefinery; wood technology; spectroscopy and chemometrics
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E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Plaza Europa 1, 20018 San Sebastian, Spain
2. Innorenew CoE, Livade 6, 6310 Izola, Slovenia
Interests: bulk and surface wood modification; bio-based materials; green additives; biorefinery and applications; exploration of new analytical techniques (NIR-Vis spectroscopy, Hiperspectral images, chemometrics)
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Lignin is a heterogeneous natural polymer with an aromatic structure that constitutes 15–35% of lignocellulosic biomass. Technical lignins are currently produced in large quantities annually as a by-product from chemical pulping operations and lignocellulosic ethanol production. However, the valorization rate for this abundant renewable resource is still less than 2%. Therefore, lignin recovery from side streams and lignin conversion into diverse and valuable products for high-value applications represent attractive opportunities for the further development of biorefineries in the near future from a circular economy perspective.

The control of key parameters during lignin extraction or recovery steps determines the quality of the resultant lignin polymer in terms of purity, molecular characteristics, properties, and color. Regarding lignin conversion, many previous studies have demonstrated its huge potential to produce valuable fine chemicals and biofuels through thermochemical fragmentation and biological conversion pathways. Moreover, the incorporation of lignin and lignin-derived products, both as an additive in natural and synthetic polymers and as a precursor to synthesize various target applications (including polyurethanes and phenol–formaldehyde resins), as well as carbon-based materials, has been extensively investigated over the years. Recently, lignin’s multi-functionality and biological activity has attracted substantial attention within the scientific community. New and innovative applications for lignin valorization are emerging in different fields, including medicine, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.

Today, the most important research related to lignin valorization aims to overcome technical limitations and improve performance in final applications through the development of sustainable and efficient conversion processes. At present, the evaluation of lignin performance in various applications is the real bottleneck in lignin engineering due to the polymer’s enormous variability and chemical heterogeneity. Current research approaches are based on time-consuming characterization techniques and lack standardized procedures for analysis. Therefore, the development of fast and reliable analytical methodologies for the classification and prediction of the relationships between lignin structure, properties, and performance could promote lignin valorization progress.

You are kindly invited to contribute interdisciplinary and original research articles and review articles on novel aspects and strategies related to lignin valorization, current requirements linked to regulatory aspects in specific applications, future industrial use, research directions and prospects as well as developments in qualitative and quantitative fast analytical solutions for lignin processing and quality control.

Welcomed submissions include, but are not limited to, the topics listed below:

  • The impact of lignin impurities on its valorization and applications;
  • The separation and purification technologies of lignin-derived compounds and applications;
  • Functional lignin-based materials: hydrogels, nanocarriers, biosorbents, and nanoparticles;
  • The chemical modification of lignin to develop tailored lignin-derived products;
  • The application of lignin in coatings, adhesives, resins, plasticizers, and flame retardants;
  • The antioxidant performance of lignin in real applications (applied tests, not just standard methods) ;
  • Improving the UV absorbance of lignin;
  • Structure–property–performance relationships;
  • Regulatory and economic hurdles to bring high-value lignin applications to the market;
  • Fast and easy analytical methods for industrial process control;
  • Approaches to produce lignins with constant quality;
  • The performance of sulfur-free lignins compared to pulp and paper lignins.

Dr. Oihana Gordobil
Dr. René Herrera Díaz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • circular economy
  • lignin conversion
  • quality control
  • lignin performance
  • novel applications

Published Papers (1 paper)

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15 pages, 2255 KiB  
Simultaneous Improvement of Surface Wettability and UV Resistance of Wood with Lignin-Based Treatments
by Rene Herrera, Faksawat Poohphajai, Anna Sandak and Oihana Gordobil
Polymers 2023, 15(16), 3409; - 15 Aug 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1373
Recent advancements in wood modification aim to enhance the inherent qualities of this versatile biological material, which includes renewability, ease of processing, and thermal insulation. This study focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of lignin as a protective agent for less durable wood species, [...] Read more.
Recent advancements in wood modification aim to enhance the inherent qualities of this versatile biological material, which includes renewability, ease of processing, and thermal insulation. This study focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of lignin as a protective agent for less durable wood species, namely, Pinus nigra and Fagus sylvatica L. The impregnation of wood with three various forms of lignin, such as kraft lignin, acetylated kraft lignin, and lignin nanoparticles, was carried out using the vacuum technique at room conditions. The results showed that the treatments significantly improve the hydrophobicity of wood surfaces, particularly in pine wood, and provide protection against UV ageing. Additionally, the treatments contributed to the stabilisation of moisture content at different humidity levels. Although slight colour variations were observed, their impact on the visual appearance was minimal, and the thermal analysis confirmed enhanced thermal properties. Additionally, plasma treatment further enhanced hydrophobicity after treatments, offering potential benefits in terms of moisture resistance and durability. The findings of this study highlight the promising effects of lignin-based treatments on wood properties, providing sustainable solutions for wood protection in various sectors. However, further optimisation is needed to fully explore the potential of lignin and lignin nanoparticles. Full article
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