Journal of Wood Science

, Volume 64, Issue 6, pp 810–815 | Cite as

Vanillin production from native softwood lignin in the presence of tetrabutylammonium ion

  • Misaki Maeda
  • Takashi Hosoya
  • Koichi Yoshioka
  • Hisashi MiyafujiEmail author
  • Hiroyuki Ohno
  • Tatsuhiko Yamada
Original Article


Vanillin is one of the industrially important compounds that can be produced from lignin. This study presents production of vanillin and vanillic acid (oxidized form of vanillin) through aerobic oxidation of Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) at 120 °C for 72 h in aqueous alkali solutions with several Bu4N+ and OH concentrations (1.25, 2.50, and 3.75 mol/L), where Bu4N+ is an enhancer of the vanillin formation reported in our previous study. The concentrations of Bu4N+ and OH were adjusted by the additions of Bu4NCl and solid NaOH into the base medium Bu4NOH·30H2O, which forms 1.25 mol/L aqueous solution of Bu4NOH at the elevated temperature. Vanillin and vanillic acid were produced with the maximum yields of 21.0 and 1.7 wt% (lignin-base), respectively, at the 1.25 mol/L Bu4N+ and 3.75 mol/L OH concentrations. This vanillin yield is close to that obtained by the alkaline nitrobenzene oxidation (26.5 wt%), indicating significantly high selectivity of our lignin degradation with Bu4N+ toward vanillin formation. We also proposed a novel Bu4NOH·30H2O-free reaction medium, where Bu4NOH·30H2O as the base medium were substituted with an aqueous solution of Bu4NCl and NaOH to avoid using expensive Bu4NOH·30H2O. The treatment of the Japanese cedar with this alternative medium exhibited the moderately decreased vanillin yield of 14.6 wt%, which is, however, much higher than the vanillin yield obtained with a simple 1.25 mol/L NaOH solution.


Lignin Aerobic oxidation Vanillin Quaternary ammonium Alkali 



This work was supported by the Technologies for Creating Next-Generation Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries under the Cross-Ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP) administered by Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CSTI), Japan, and a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (No. 17K18008) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Supplementary material

10086_2018_1766_MOESM1_ESM.docx (30 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 29 KB)


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Copyright information

© The Japan Wood Research Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Misaki Maeda
    • 1
  • Takashi Hosoya
    • 1
  • Koichi Yoshioka
    • 1
  • Hisashi Miyafuji
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hiroyuki Ohno
    • 2
  • Tatsuhiko Yamada
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate School of life and Environmental SciencesKyoto prefectural UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of engineering departmentTokyo University of Agriculture and TechnologyKoganeiJapan
  3. 3.Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukubaJapan

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