One-pot conversion of engineered poplar into biochemicals and biofuels using biocompatible deep eutectic solvents

Kwang Ho Kim, Yaseen Mottiar, Keunhong Jeong, Phuong Hoang Nguyen Tran, Ngoc Tuan Tran, Jingshun Zhuang, Chang Soo Kim, Hyunjoo Lee, Gyeongtaek Gong, Ja Kyong Ko, Sun Mi Lee, So Young Kim, Ji Yeon Shin, Hanseob Jeong, Hyun Kyu Song, Chang Geun Yoo, Nak Kyoon Kim, Shawn D. Mansfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Multidisciplinary approaches are needed to overcome the various technical and technoeconomic challenges that have hindered the development of sustainable biorefineries. Herein, we report on the one-pot conversion of transgenic poplar biomass into bioproducts using biocompatible deep eutectic solvents (DESs). Engineered poplar wood with elevated levels of cell-wall-bound p-hydroxybenzoate (pHB) was processed using choline chloride-glycerol (ChCl-Gly) and betaine-glycerol (Bet-Gly), two non-conventional solvent systems. A metabolic engineering strategy that increased the abundance of terminal phenolic pHB groups on lignin resulted in transgenic poplar wood with reduced inherent recalcitrance. The engineered poplars, particularly those with the greatest levels of pHB, released more fermentable sugars and produced higher yields of bioethanol compared to wild-type trees following a one-pot treatment with ChCl-Gly. Equally important, the residual lignin was a rich source of alkylphenols upon hydrogenolysis, which highlights an important additional opportunity for lignin valorization. Our findings show how integrating plant cell wall engineering and process consolidation using biocompatible DESs could enable the development of sustainable biorefineries that effectively utilize both carbohydrates and lignin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9055-9068
Number of pages14
JournalGreen Chemistry
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct 6

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution


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