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Lignin is a heterogeneous, alkyl-aromatic polymer in plant cell walls. Lignin plays a key role in water and nutrient transport in plant tissues, imparts rigidity and structure to plants, and aids in defense against pathogens. The heterogeneous, recalcitrant nature of lignin leads to multiple technical challenges in understanding lignin-s structure in plant cell walls and extracting it in a useful form from plant biomass for targeted chemical and material applications. Indeed, despite nearly a century of efforts, the cost effective valorization of lignin, with a few notable exceptions, still remains elusive for most biorefinery applications.