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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 891539, 14 pages
Research Article

Production of Monomeric Aromatic Compounds from Oil Palm Empty Fruit Bunch Fiber Lignin by Chemical and Enzymatic Methods

1School of Chemical Sciences and Food Technology, Faculty of Science and Technology, The National University of Malaysia (UKM), 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia
2Polymer Research Center, Faculty of Science and Technology, The National University of Malaysia (UKM), 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Received 26 June 2015; Revised 13 November 2015; Accepted 30 November 2015

Academic Editor: Alberto Scoma

Copyright © 2015 Pei-Ling Tang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In this study, oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFBF) was pretreated with alkali, and lignin was extracted for further degradation into lower molecular weight phenolic compounds using enzymes and chemical means. Efficiency of monomeric aromatic compounds production from OPEFBF lignin via chemical (nitrobenzene versus oxygen) and enzymatic [cutinase versus manganese peroxidase (MnP)] approaches was investigated. The effects of sodium hydroxide concentration (2, 5, and 10% wt.) and reaction time (30, 90, and 180 minutes) on the yield of aromatic compounds were studied. The results obtained indicated that nitrobenzene oxidation produced the highest yield ( ppm hydroxybenzoic acid,  ppm p-hydroxybenzaldehyde,  ppm vanillic acid,  ppm vanillin,  ppm syringic acid,  ppm syringaldehyde,  ppm p-coumaric acid, and  ppm ferulic acid), among the tested methods. High sodium hydroxide concentration (10% wt.) was needed to promote efficient nitrobenzene oxidation. However, less severe oxidation condition was preferred to preserve the hydroxycinnamic acids (p-coumaric acid and ferulic acid). Cutinase-catalyzed hydrolysis was found to be more efficient than MnP-catalyzed oxidation in the production of aromatic compounds. By hydrolyzed 8% wt. of lignin with 0.625 mL cutinase g−1 lignin at pH 8 and 55°C for 24 hours, about  ppm hydroxybenzoic acid,  ppm syringaldehyde,  ppm vanillin,  ppm p-coumaric acid, and  ppm ferulic acid were produced.