Researchers develop a sustainable method for extracting vanillin from wood processing waste

An electrolysis cell developed at JGU for the extraction of vanillin from lignin. Credit: Michael Zirbes


Scientists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in Germany have developed a new sustainable method of extracting the flavoring agent vanillin from lignin, a component of wood. Large quantities of waste lignin accumulate during the production of pulp, an important raw material for making paper.

The process the researchers describe in their article in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering involves dissolving the lignin in caustic soda and heating this mixture to 160 degrees Celsius in a simple electrolysis cell with nickel electrodes to which a current is applied.





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