BioEnergy Research

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 654–669 | Cite as

Comprehensive Analysis of Monomeric Phenolics in Dilute Acid Plant Hydrolysates

  • Valerie D. Mitchell
  • Caroline M. Taylor
  • Stefan Bauer


We carried out a comprehensive analysis of the phenolic compounds in hydrolysate produced by dilute acid pretreatment of 20 potential lignocellulosic biofuel feedstocks, including grasses, hardwoods and softwood, and agaves. We find that the phenolic fraction is dominated by Hibbert's ketones, most of which had not so far been characterized in hydrolysate. Using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, a range of 43–68 monomeric phenolic compounds were identified in each of the feedstocks, including from 13 to 20 Hibbert's ketones and related structures, which represented 28–82 % of phenolics formed during pretreatment. The total concentration of phenolics ranged from 87 to 1,077 μg/mL (equivalent to 78–969 mg phenolics released per 100 g of biomass used) across the feedstocks studied. While total amount of phenolics produced does not correlate with the Klason lignin in the feedstock, the distribution of compound types produced is reflective of the S and G monolignol ratios of the feedstock. Since phenolic compounds are particularly inhibitory to microbial processes and cellulolytic enzymes, our results indicate there is sufficient variation across feedstocks that design strategies are likely to benefit from both general and targeted approaches to detoxification.


Phenolics Inhibitors Pretreatment Dilute acid GC/MS Biomass Biofuels 



This work was funded by the Energy Biosciences Institute. The authors would like to thank Dr. Sanil Sreekumar (UC Berkeley) for the preparation of 3-syringylpropanol; Tim Mies (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Dr. Sarah Davis (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; now at Ohio University), and Dr. Jason Lupoi (Joint Bio-Energy Institute, Emeryville) for providing biomass samples; and Dr. Mirko Bunzel (University of Minnesota, St. Paul) for the mixture of 5-O-trans-feruloyl- and 5-O- trans-p-coumaroyl-arabinose.

Supplementary material

12155_2013_9392_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (260 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 260 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valerie D. Mitchell
    • 1
  • Caroline M. Taylor
    • 1
  • Stefan Bauer
    • 1
  1. 1.Energy Biosciences InstituteUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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