A one-pot and one-step enzymatic synthesis of submicron-order spherical microparticles composed of dehydrogenative polymers (DHPs) of coniferyl alcohol as a typical lignin precursor and TEMPO-oxidized cellulose nanofibers (TOCNFs) was investigated. Horseradish peroxidase enzymatically catalyzed the radical coupling of coniferyl alcohol in an aqueous suspension of TOCNFs, resulting in the formation of spherical microparticles with a diameter and sphericity index of approximately 0.8 µm and 0.95, respectively. The ζ-potential of TOCNF-functionalized DHP microspheres was about −40 mV, indicating that the colloidal systems had good stability. Nanofibrous components were clearly observed on the microparticle surface by scanning electron microscopy, while some TOCNFs were confirmed to be inside the microparticles by confocal laser scanning microscopy with Calcofluor white staining. As both cellulose and lignin are natural polymers known to biodegrade, even in the sea, these woody TOCNF−DHP microparticle nanocomposites were expected to be promising alternatives to fossil resource-derived microbeads in cosmetic applications.
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