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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 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
  3. Alternative polymer feedstocks are highly desirable to address environmental, social, and security concerns associated with petrochemical-based materials. Lignocellulosic biomass (LCB) has emerged as one critical feedstock in this regard because it is an abundant and ubiquitous renewable resource. LCB can be deconstructed to generate valuable fuels, chemicals, and small molecules/oligomers that are amenable to modification and polymerization. However, the diversity of LCB complicates the evaluation of biorefinery concepts in areas including process scale-up, production outputs, plant economics, and life-cycle management. We discuss aspects of current LCB biorefinery research with a focus on the major process stages, including feedstock selection, fractionation/deconstruction, and characterization, along with product purification, functionalization, and polymerization to manufacture valuable macromolecular materials. We highlight opportunities to valorize underutilized and complex feedstocks, leverage advanced characterization techniques to predict and manage biorefinery outputs, and increase the fraction of biomass converted into valuable products. 
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  4. Process intensification was leveraged to develop a scalable route to upgrade lignin to high-performance materials and chemicals. 
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  5. null (Ed.)