Journal of the science of food and agriculture

Comparison of common lignin methods and modifications on forage and lignocellulosic biomass materials.

PMID 22095731


A variety of methods have been developed for estimating lignin concentration within plant materials. The objective of this study was to compare the lignin concentrations produced by six methods on a diverse population of forage and biomass materials and to examine the relationship between these concentrations and the portions of these materials that are available for utilisation by livestock or for ethanol conversion. Several methods produced lignin concentrations that were highly correlated with the digestibility of the forages, but there were few relationships between these methods and the available carbohydrate of the biomass materials. The use of Na₂SO₃ during preparation of residues for hydrolysis resulted in reduced lignin concentrations and decreased correlation with digestibility of forage materials, particularly the warm-season grasses. There were several methods that were well suited for predicting the digestible portion of forage materials, with the acid detergent lignin and Klason lignin method giving the highest correlation across the three types of forage. The continued use of Na₂SO₃ during preparation of Van Soest fibres needs to be evaluated owing to its ability to reduce lignin concentrations and effectiveness in predicting the utilisation of feedstuffs and feedstocks. Because there was little correlation between the lignin concentration and the biomass materials, there is a need to examine alternative or develop new methods to estimate lignin concentrations that may be used to predict the availability of carbohydrates for ethanol conversion.