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Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2000 Spring;84-86:39-50.

Fourier transform infrared quantification of sugars in pretreated biomass liquors.

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National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Biotechnology Center for Fuels and Chemicals, Golden, CO 80401-3393, USA.


The process of converting renewable lignocellulosic biomass to ethanol requires a number of steps, and pretreatment is one of the most important. Pretreatment usually involves a hydrolysis of the easily hydrolyzed hemi-cellulosic component of biomass using some form of thermal/chemical/mechanical action that results in a product that can be further hydrolyzed by cellulase enzymes (the cellulosic portion). The sugars produced can then be fermented to ethanol by fermentative microorganisms. If the pretreatment step is not severe enough, the resultant residue is not as easily hydrolyzed by the cellulase enzyme. More severe pretreatment conditions result in the production of degradation products that are toxic to the fermentative microorganism. In this article, we report the quantitative analysis of glucose, mannose, xylose, and acetic acid using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy on liquors from dilute-acid-pretreated soft-wood and hard-wood slurries. Comparison of FTIR and high-performance liquid chromatography quantitative analyses of these liquors are reported. Recent developments in infrared probe technology has enabled the rapid quantification of these sugars by FTIR spectroscopy in the batch reactor during optimization of the pretreatment conditions, or interfaced to the computer controlling a continuous reactor for on-line monitoring and control.

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