Analysis of Biomass Sugars Using a Novel HPLC Method

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The precise quantitative analysis of biomass sugars is a very important step in the conversion of biomass feedstocks to fuels and chemicals. However, the most accurate method of biomass sugar analysis is based on the gas chromatography analysis of derivatized sugars either as alditol acetates or trimethylsilanes. The derivatization method is time consuming but the alternative high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method cannot resolve most sugars found in biomass hydrolysates. We have demonstrated for the first time that by careful manipulation of the HPLC mobile phase, biomass monomeric sugars (arabinose, xylose, fructose, glucose, mannose, and galactose) can be analyzed quantitatively and there is excellent baseline resolution of all the sugars. This method was demonstrated for standard sugars, pretreated corn stover liquid and solid fractions. Our method can also be used to analyze dimeric sugars (cellobiose and sucrose).

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