Oxidation of Various Kraft Lignins with a Bacterial Laccase Enzyme

Sebastian A. Mayr, Raditya Subagia, Renate Weiss*, Nikolaus Schwaiger, Hedda K. Weber, Johannes Leitner, Doris Ribitsch, Gibson S. Nyanhongo, Georg M. Guebitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Modification of kraft lignin (KL), traditionally uses harsh and energy-demanding physical and chemical processes. In this study, the potential of the bacterial laccase CotA (spore coating protein A) for oxidation of KL under mild conditions was assessed. Thereby, the efficiency of CotA to oxidize both softwood and hardwood KL of varying purity at alkaline conditions was examined. For the respective type of wood, the highest oxidation activity by CotA was determined for the medium ash content softwood KL (MA_S) and the medium ash content hardwood KL (MA_H), respectively. By an up to 95% decrease in fluorescence and up to 65% in phenol content coupling of the structural lignin units was indicated. These results correlated with an increase in viscosity and molecular weight, which increased nearly 2 and 20-fold for MA_H and about 1.3 and 6.0-fold for MA_S, respectively. Thus, this study confirms that the CotA laccase can oxidize a variety of KL at alkaline conditions, while the origin and purity of KL were found to have a major impact on the efficiency of oxidation. Under the herein tested conditions, it was observed that the MA_H KL showed the highest susceptibility to CotA oxidation when compared to the other hardwood KLs and the softwood KLs. Therefore, this could be a viable method to produce sustainable resins and adhesives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13161
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • CotA
  • Isolation
  • Kraft lignin
  • Laccase
  • Lignosulfonate
  • Oxidation
  • Precipitation
  • Purity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

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