Tuesday, May 1, 2007 - 9:20 PM

Improved analytical methods for monitoring process intermediates in biomass-to-ethanol conversion

C. Kevin Chambliss, Lekh N. Sharma, Christopher Becker, Richard A. Mowery, and Shou-Feng Chen. Chemistry and Biochemistry, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97348, Waco, TX 76798-7348

Qualitative and quantitative analysis of lignocellulosic degradation products is critical to any technical or economic valuation of biomass conversion.  The majority of degradation products are introduced into process streams during biomass pretreatment.  Pretreatment liquids contain not only cellulose and fermentable sugars, but also a wide variety of aliphatic and aromatic acids, phenols, and aromatic aldehydes that may exert an inhibitory effect on downstream bioconversion processes. Accordingly, there is broad interest in the development of reliable methods for assessment of an increasing number of target analytes in biomass process streams.

Ideal analytical techniques for process monitoring will be accurate, fast, and as comprehensive as possible, and while near-infra red spectroscopy (NIR) shows great promise for routine assessment of chemical intermediates in a production setting, chromatographic techniques will still be required to calibrate the NIR chemometric models that ultimately facilitate rapid, on-line monitoring.  

This presentation will highlight recent advances in the development of a high performance liquid chromatography-photodiode array-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-PDA-MS/MS) method, targeting 40 potentially-inhibitory degradation products, and an improved high performance anion exchange-pulsed amperometry (HPAE-PAD) technique for rapid monitoring of biomass sugars in pretreatment liquids.