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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 20, 2024
  2. Vlachos, Dionisios G. (Ed.)
    About 1.3 billion tons of global food production end up in landfills and composting, leading to significant anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Extracting antioxidant and antimicrobial chemicals (flavonoids, phenolic acids, etc.) from food waste is an economically lucrative valorization strategy but is hindered by efficient solvent selection. Here we perform in silico high throughput screening to identify high solubility solvents for key phenolics and reveal >100+ higher-performing solvents than the traditional ethanol and methanol. Solubilities of nine shortlisted solvents are measured and found in reasonable agreement with model predictions. Analysis of the Conductor like Screening Model for Real Solvents (COSMO-RS) σ-profiles and Hansen Solubility Parameters reveals that polarity and hydrogen bonding make dimethylformamide (DMF) an excellent single solvent. We showcase the replacement of high-solubility toxic solvents with green mixtures and demonstrate the approach to potato peel waste. Our work provides a blueprint for solvent selection and generates new insights into extraction from food waste. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
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  6. Abstract

    Lignin is an aromatic biopolymer found in ubiquitous sources of woody biomass. Designing and optimizing lignin valorization processes requires a fundamental understanding of lignin structures. Experimental characterization techniques, such as 2D-heteronuclear single quantum coherence (HSQC) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra, could elucidate the global properties of the polymer molecules. Computer models could extend the resolution of experiments by representing structures at the molecular and atomistic scales. We introduce a graph-based multiscale modeling framework for lignin structure generation and visualization. The framework employs accelerated rejection-free polymerization and hierarchical Metropolis Monte Carlo optimization algorithms. We obtain structure libraries for various lignin feedstocks based on literature and new experimental NMR data for poplar wood, pinewood, and herbaceous lignin. The framework could guide researchers towards feasible lignin structures, efficient space exploration, and future kinetics modeling. Its software implementation in Python, LigninGraphs, is open-source and available on GitHub.

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