A very important topic in present-day research is the depolymerization of lignin, meaning the multi-parametric decomposition of the biopolymer into low-molecular-weight products (monomers) by breaking of the intermolecular bonds. Depolymerization can occur under many different factors, such as high temperature or catalysts, which determine the mechanism of disintegration. In the case of lignin, this process is carried out in order to obtain many valuable low-molecular-weight compounds. It is becoming more and more popular as a result of the use of ionic liquids, but methods using alkaline, acidic, and metallic catalysts, as well as pyrolysis and supercritical fluids, are also known. All of these methods will be described in detail in this chapter.
Part of the book: Lignin