Lignin, as the most abundant aromatic renewable biopolymer in nature, has long been regarded as waste and simply discarded from the pulp and paper industry. In recent years, with many breakthroughs in lignin chemistry, pretreatment, and processing techniques, a lot of the inherent bioactivities of lignin, including antioxidant activities, antimicrobial activities, biocompatibilities, optical properties, and metal-ion chelating and redox activities, have been discovered and this has opened a new field not only for lignin-based materials but also for biomaterials. In this Review, the biological activities of lignin and drug/gene delivery and bioimaging applications of various types of lignin-based material are summarized. In addition, the challenges and limitations of lignin-based materials encountered during the development of biomedical applications are also discussed.
- biomedical industry