Creation of essential technologies to utilize carbon dioxide as a resource through the enhancement of plant productivity and the exploitation of plant products

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Takashi Watanabe (Professor, Kyoto University)

Development of lignin-derived functional polymers from plants by catalytic reactions responsive to electromagnetic waves

 We synthesize new catalysts having affinity to lignin in plant cell walls and absorption properties of electromagnetic waves. We analyze hyperfine molecular structures of whole lignified plant tissues and develop highly efficient lignin-degrading reaction systems using the catalysts and a newly developed electromagnetic wave irradiator, thereby producing linear type lignin and polymerizable monomers. The isolated molecules are purified and converted to functional aromatic polymers with high level of physical strength, solvent tolerance, dispersibility, shock resistance or ultraviolet absorption properties.