Lignin-like polymers in coals

Abstract

ALTHOUGH lignins are major constituents of plants from which coals are derived, their roles in the coalification process and resulting coal structures have not been defined. On the basis of chemical and biological degradations, lignins are considered to be polymers of p-coumaryl-(I), coniferyl- (II), and sinapyl- (III) alcohols1–3. Isolation of coal degradation products related to these three monomers should shed some light on the roles played by lignins during coalification and in the final structure of coals. To date such studies have had only limited success. Many oxidative degradations have also been carried out to break coal down into simpler species; however, isolation and identification of p-hydroxyl (IV), vanillyl (V), and syringyl (VI) groups, which are characteristic lignin oxidation products, have not yet been confirmed. We report here that, using a CuO–NaOH oxidation procedure we were able to isolate phenolic acids which show a relationship between lignins and coals.

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HAYATSU, R., WINANS, R., MCBETH, R. et al. Lignin-like polymers in coals. Nature 278, 41–43 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1038/278041a0

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