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Off-line comprehensive size exclusion chromatography × reversed-phase liquid chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry for the analysis of lignocellulosic biomass products.

Journal of chromatography. A (2019-09-11)
Alexis Dubuis, Agnès Le Masle, Ludovic Chahen, Emilie Destandau, Nadège Charon
ABSTRACT

Biochemical and thermochemical processes are two pathways to convert lignocellulosic biomass into fuels and chemicals. Both conversion types produce aqueous complex samples containing many oxygenated chemical functions over a wide range of masses. Nowadays, composition of these biomass products is still largely unknown, especially their nonvolatile part (300-1000 Da) mostly made of carbohydrates and their derivatives. In the present study, size exclusion chromatography (SEC) was investigated and applied on water soluble phase of a fast pyrolysis bio-oil (thermochemical conversion) and on aqueous phase of pretreated wheat straw (biochemical conversion). An optimization of mobile phase composition using model molecules was necessary to limit non-steric interactions and elute all chemical families. At the end, separation of carbohydrates, heterosides and aromatic species was performed. The chemical organization of SEC chromatograms was confirmed by coupling SEC with a Fourier transform-ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer (FT-ICR MS) using electrospray ionization (ESI) in the negative mode. On-line SEC-UV/FT-ICR MS hyphenation was a powerful tool to provide exact mass distribution of samples and get molecular formulae classed by chemical family. To go further, the complementarity of SEC with reversed-phase liquid chromatography (RPLC) was established with an off-line comprehensive 2D-LC analysis of the two samples. First, 140 fractions were collected physically from SEC separation for each sample, then each fraction was analyzed by RPLC hyphenated to an Ion Trap - Time of Flight mass spectrometer (SEC × RPLC-UV/IT-TOF MS) using ESI in both positive and negative modes. This comprehensive approach combining 2D-LC and high resolution mass spectrometry nearly doubled the number of peaks detected in comparison with 1D RPLC analysis and thus offered well resolved 2D contour plots, considered as relevant analytical fingerprints of the aqueous phase of biomass samples.

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D-Glucose-12C6, 99.5 atom % 12C