Degradation pathways of amino acids during thermal utilization of biomass: a review

Mubarak Al-Kwradi, Mohammednoor Altarawneh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Amino acids are important nitrogen carriers in biomass and entail a broad spectrum of industrial uses, most notably as food additives, pharmaceutical ingredients, and raw materials for bio-based plastics. Attaining detailed information in regard to the fragmentation of amino acids is essential to comprehend the nitrogen transformation chemistry at conditions encountered during hydrothermal and pyrolytic degradation of biomass. The underlying aim of this review is to survey literature studies pertinent to the complex structures of amino acids, their formation yields from various categories of biomass, and their fragmentation routes at elevated temperatures and in the aqueous media. Two predominant degradation reactions ensue in the decomposition of amino acids, namely deamination and decarboxylation. Notably, minor differences in structure can greatly affect the fate for each amino acid. Moreover, amino acids, being nitrogen-rich compounds, play pivotal roles across various fields. There is a growing interest in producing varied types and configurations of amino acids. Microbial fermentation appears to a viable approach to produce amino acids at an industrial scale. One innovative method under investigation is catalytic synthesis using renewable biomass as feedstocks. Such a method taps into the inherent nitrogen in biomass sources like chitin and proteins, eliminating the need for external nitrogen sources. This environmentally friendly approach is in line with green chemistry principles and has been gathering momentum in the scientific community. (Figure presented.)

Original languageEnglish
Article number78
JournalFrontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2024


  • amino acids
  • bioenergy
  • biomass
  • mechanisms
  • nitrogen
  • pyrolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering


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