Utilising Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) to Track the Oxidation of Lignin by an Alkaliphilic Laccase.

Zak Towle*, Faye Cruickshank, Logan Mackay, David Clarke*, Louise Horsfall*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Lignin is a complex heteroaromatic polymer which is one of the most abundant and diverse biopolymers on the planet. It comprises approximately one third of all woody plant matter, making it an attractive candidate as an alternative, renewable feedstock to petrochemicals to produce fine chemicals. However, the inherent complexity of lignin makes it difficult to analyse and characterise using common analytical techniques, proving a hindrance to the utilisation of lignin as a green chemical feedstock. Herein we outline the tracking of lignin degradation by an alkaliphilic laccase in a semi-quantitative manner using a combined chemical analysis approach using Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) to characterise shifts in chemical diversity and relative abundance of ions, and NMR to highlight changes in the structure of lignin. Specifically, an alkaliphilic laccase was used to degrade an industrially relevant lignin, with compounds such as syringaresinol being almost wholly removed (95%) after 24 hours of treatment. Structural analyses reinforced these findings, indicating a >50% loss of NMR signal relating to β-β linkages, of which syringaresinol is representative. Ultimately, this work underlines a combined analytical approach that can be used to gain a broader semi-quantitative understanding of the enzymatic activity of laccases within a complex, non-model mixture. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2399-2411
Number of pages21
JournalAnalyst
Volume149
Issue number8
Early online date8 Mar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2024

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