Processing of fossil fuels is the major environmental issue today. Biomass utilization for the production of chemicals presents an alternative to simple energy generation by burning. Lignocellulosic biomass (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin) is abundant and has been used for variety of purposes. Among them, lignin polymer having phenyl-propanoid subunits linked together either through C-C bonds or ether linkages can produce chemicals. It can be depolymerized by fungi using their enzyme machinery (laccases and peroxidases). Both acetic acid and formic acid production by certain fungi contribute significantly to lignin depolymerization. Fungal natural organic acids production is thought to have many key roles in nature depending upon the type of fungi producing them. Biological conversion of lignocellulosic biomass is beneficial over physiochemical processes. Laccases, copper containing proteins oxidize a broad spectrum of inorganic as well as organic compounds but most specifically phenolic compounds by radical catalyzed mechanism. Similarly, lignin peroxidases (LiP), heme containing proteins perform a vital part in oxidizing a wide variety of aromatic compounds with H2
. Lignin depolymerization yields value-added compounds, the important ones are aromatics and phenols as well as certain polymers like polyurethane and carbon fibers. Thus, this review will provide a concept that biological modifications of lignin using acidophilic fungi can generate certain value added and environmentally friendly chemicals.
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