Figure Persented: In the search for a replacement for fossil fuel and the valuable chemicals currently obtained from crude oil, lignocellulosic biomass has become a promising candidate as an alternative biorenewable source for crude oil. Hence, many research efforts focus on the extraction, degradation, and catalytic transformation of lignin, hemicellulose, and cellulose. Unfortunately, these processes result in the production of very complex mixtures. Further, while methods have been developed for the analysis of mixtures of oligosaccharides, this is not true for the complex mixtures generated upon degradation of lignin. For example, high-performance liquid chromatography/ multiple stage tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC/MSn), a tool proven to be invaluable in the analysis of complex mixtures derived from many other biopolymers, such as proteins and DNA, has not been implemented for lignin degradation products. In this study, we have developed an HPLC separation method for lignin degradation products that is amenable to negative-ion-mode electrospray ionization (ESI doped with NaOH), the best method identified thus far for ionization of lignin-related model compounds without fragmentation. The separated and ionized compounds are then analyzed by MS3 experiments to obtain detailed structural information while simultaneously performing high-resolution measurements to determine their elemental compositions in the two parts of a commercial linear quadrupole ion trap/Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer. A lignin degradation product mixture was analyzed using this method, and molecular structures were proposed for some components. This methodology significantly improves the ability to analyze complex product mixtures that result from degraded lignin.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry