Biotechnol Biofuels Bioprod. 2023 Mar 7;16(1):38. doi: 10.1186/s13068-023-02278-3.
Humic substances (HS) are originated from naturally decaying biomass. The main products of HS are humic acids, fulvic acids, and humins. HS are extracted from natural origins (e.g., coals, lignite, forest, and river sediments). However, the production of HS from these resources is not environmentally friendly, potentially impacting ecological systems. Earlier theories claimed that the HS might be transformed from lignin by enzymatic or aerobic oxidation. On the other hand, lignin is a by-product of pulp and paper production processes and is available commercially. However, it is still under-utilized. To address the challenges of producing environmentally friendly HS and accommodating lignin in valorized processes, the production of lignin-derived HS has attracted attention. Currently, several chemical modification pathways can be followed to convert lignin into HS-like materials, such as alkaline aerobic oxidation, alkaline oxidative digestion, and oxidative ammonolysis of lignin. This review paper discusses the fundamental aspects of lignin transformation to HS comprehensively. The applications of natural HS and lignin-derived HS in various fields, such as soil enrichment, fertilizers, wastewater treatment, water decontamination, and medicines, were comprehensively discussed. Furthermore, the current challenges associated with the production and use of HS from lignin were described.
PMID:36882875 | PMC:PMC9989592 | DOI:10.1186/s13068-023-02278-3