BioEnergy Research

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 899–908 | Cite as

Validation of PyMBMS as a High-throughput Screen for Lignin Abundance in Lignocellulosic Biomass of Grasses

  • Bryan W. Penning
  • Robert W. Sykes
  • Nicholas C. Babcock
  • Christopher K. Dugard
  • John F. Klimek
  • David Gamblin
  • Mark Davis
  • Timothy R. Filley
  • Nathan S. Mosier
  • Clifford F. Weil
  • Maureen C. McCann
  • Nicholas C. Carpita


Pyrolysis molecular-beam mass spectrometry (PyMBMS) was tested as a high-throughput method for relative abundances of guaiacyl and syringyl lignin in lignocellulosic cell-wall materials from stems of a population of maize intermated B73 × Mo17 (IBM) recombinant inbred lines. Variations of up to twofold across the population in phenylpropanoid abundance were observed. Several histochemical and quantitative biochemical assays were used to validate the mass spectrometric data for lignin, hydroxycinnamic acids, crystalline cellulose, non-cellulosic glucans, and xylans. We demonstrate PyMBMS to be a valid high-throughput screen suitable for analysis of lignin abundance in large populations of bioenergy grasses. Pentose from xylans and hexose from cellulosic and non-cellulosic glucans also varied substantially across the population, but abundances of diagnostic fragments for these monosaccharides were not well correlated with the abundance of cell-wall polysaccharides.


Maize Cell walls Pyrolysis molecular-beam mass spectrometry Lignin p-Coumaric acid Cellulose Xylan 



Pyrolysis molecular-beam mass spectrometry


Intermated B73 × Mo17 recombinant inbred population








Recombinant inbred line


Quantitative trait locus (loci)





We thank Steve Moose, University of Illinois, for providing access to the maize stover and helpful discussions. Multiyear sampling of the IBM population was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Feedstock Genomics Program, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Office of Science; screening of the IBM population by PyMBMS was supported by the BioEnergy Science Center a U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Center supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the DOE Office of Science Contract No. DE-AC36-08-GO28308, and by the National Science Foundation “Hy-Bi”, an Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) program, Award No. 0938033; histochemical and analytical validations of PyMBMS for lignin and carbohydrate abundance were supported by the Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels (C3Bio), an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Award Number DE-SC0000997.

Supplementary material

12155_2014_9410_MOESM1_ESM.docx (94 kb)
Supplemental Table S1 (DOCX 94.4 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryan W. Penning
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert W. Sykes
    • 3
  • Nicholas C. Babcock
    • 4
  • Christopher K. Dugard
    • 2
  • John F. Klimek
    • 2
  • David Gamblin
    • 5
  • Mark Davis
    • 3
  • Timothy R. Filley
    • 5
  • Nathan S. Mosier
    • 6
  • Clifford F. Weil
    • 4
  • Maureen C. McCann
    • 1
  • Nicholas C. Carpita
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Botany & Plant PathologyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  3. 3.Bioscience CenterNational Renewable Energy LaboratoryGoldenUSA
  4. 4.Department of AgronomyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  5. 5.Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary SciencesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  6. 6.Department of Agricultural & Biological EngineeringPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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