Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 184, Issue 1, pp 350–365 | Cite as

Assessment of Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Properties of Lignin from Corn Stover Residue Pretreated with Low-Moisture Anhydrous Ammonia and Enzymatic Hydrolysis Process

  • Mingming Guo
  • Tony Jin
  • Nhuan P. Nghiem
  • Xuetong Fan
  • Phoebe X. Qi
  • Chan Ho Jang
  • Lingxiao Shao
  • Changqing WuEmail author


Lignin accounts for 15–35% of dry biomass materials. Therefore, developing value-added co-products from lignin residues is increasingly important to improve the economic viability of biofuel production from biomass resources. The main objective of this work was to study the lignin extracts from corn stover residue obtained from a new and improved process for bioethanol production. Extraction conditions that favored high lignin yield were optimized, and antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of the resulting lignin were investigated. Potential estrogenic toxicity of lignin extracts was also evaluated. The corn stover was pretreated by low-moisture anhydrous ammonia (LMAA) and then subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis using cellulase and hemicellulase. The residues were then added with sodium hydroxide and extracted for different temperatures and times for enhancing lignin yield and the bioactivities. The optimal extraction conditions using 4% (w/v) sodium hydroxide were determined to be 50 °C, 120 min, and 1:8 (w:v), the ratio between corn stover solids and extracting liquid. Under the optimal condition, 33.92 g of lignin yield per 100 g of corn stover residue was obtained. Furthermore, the extracts produced using these conditions showed the highest antioxidant activity by the hydrophilic oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) assay. The extracts also displayed significant antimicrobial activities against Listeria innocua. Minimal estrogenic impacts were observed for all lignin extracts when tested using the MCF-7 cell proliferation assay. Thus, the lignin extracts could be used for antioxidant and antimicrobial applications, and improve the value of the co-products from the biomass-based biorefinery.


Corn stover Low-moisture anhydrous ammonia Lignin extracts Antioxidant activity Antimicrobial activity Estrogenic effects 



The authors wish to thank Anita Parameswaran, Gerard E. Senske, Kimberly J. Sokorai, and Edward D. Wickham for their excellent technical assistance. This work was supported by the Northeast Sun Grant (Award No. 71012-10248) and partially by the National Science Foundation (Award No. 1506623). This project is part of the cooperative research and development agreement between University of Delaware and USDA-Agricultural Research Service (Agreement # 58-3K95-5-1719-M).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mingming Guo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tony Jin
    • 2
  • Nhuan P. Nghiem
    • 2
  • Xuetong Fan
    • 2
  • Phoebe X. Qi
    • 2
  • Chan Ho Jang
    • 1
  • Lingxiao Shao
    • 1
  • Changqing Wu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Animal and Food SciencesUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research CenterU.S. Department of AgricultureWyndmoorUSA

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