Liquid nanostructure of choline lysinate with water and a model lignin residue

Haihui Joy Jiang, Shurui Miao, Silvia Imberti, Blake A. Simmons, Rob Atkin, Gregory G. Warr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The structure of the ionic liquid choline lysinate ([Ch][Lys]) and its water mixtures, including a dissolved model lignin residue, guaiacol, is revealed at atomic and nanoscale resolution using neutron diffraction. The performance of [Ch][Lys] for biomass pretreatment depends on both its detailed H-bonding capacity and bicontinuous polar/apolar nanostructure, which is stabilised by lysinate adopting an H-bonded cyclic conformer that enhances its amphiphilicity. These features are heightened by the addition of water, which forms nanoscale pockets but also extends the H-bonding network within the IL polar domains while largely preserving its bicontinuous nanostructure, rendering the ionic liquid-water mixture an effective solvent for organic molecules bearing various functional groups. A model representative lignin compound, guaiacol, is found to H-bond through its phenol group to both the anion and water, destabilising the lysinate cyclic conformer and altering the liquid nanostructure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)856-866
Number of pages11
JournalGreen Chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2021


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