Chromatographic determination of 1, 4-β-xylooligosaccharides of different chain lengths to follow xylan deconstruction in biomass conversion

  • Hongjia Li
  • Qing Qing
  • Rajeev Kumar
  • Charles E. Wyman


Xylooligosaccharides released in hydrothermal pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass can be purified for high-value products or further hydrolyzed into sugars for fermentation or chemical conversion. In addition, characterization of xylooligosaccharides is vital to understand hemicellulose structure and removal mechanisms in pretreatment of cellulosic biomass. In this study, gel permeation chromatography was applied to fractionate xylooligosaccharides produced from birchwood xylan according to their specific degree of polymerization (DP). Then, each fraction was identified by high-performance anion exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection (HPAEC-PAD) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF–MS); and their concentrations were determined by a downscaled post-hydrolysis method. Based on PAD responses and sugar concentrations for each fraction, a series of response factors were developed that can be used to quantify xylooligosaccharides of DP from 2 to 14 without standards. The resulting approach can profile xylooligosaccharides and help gain new insights into biomass deconstruction.


Xylooligosaccharides Degree of polymerization HPAEC-PAD Response factor Chromatography 



This research was funded by the BioEnergy Science Center (BESC), a US Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Center supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the DOE Office of Science. We want to also acknowledge support for some of this research by Mascoma Corporation in Lebanon, NH. The authors especially appreciate Malcolm O’Neil and Trina D. Saffold at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center of the University of Georgia for MALDI-TOF–MS characterization. We would also like to thank Professor Eugene A. Nothnagel in the Botany and Plant Science Department of the University of California, Riverside for valuable discussion on response factors. Gratitude is extended to the Ford Motor Company for funding the Chair in Environmental Engineering at the Center for Environmental Research and Technology of the Bourns College of Engineering at UCR that augments support for many projects such as this.


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hongjia Li
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Qing Qing
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rajeev Kumar
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Charles E. Wyman
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Chemical and Environmental Engineering DepartmentUniversity of California-RiversideRiversideUSA
  2. 2.Center for Environmental Research and TechnologyUniversity of California-RiversideRiversideUSA
  3. 3.BioEnergy Science CenterOak RidgeUSA

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