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Saccharification Analysis for Biofuels

A critical step in the development of cellulosic fuels is determining the most favorable conditions for enzymatic saccharification to hydrolyze the cellulose in biomass to fermentable sugars. These reactions typically last up to four days or more, during which time the complex mixtures of carbohydrates, organic acids, and other fermentation inhibitors must be analyzed.

Carbohydrate Analysis of Saccharification Mixtures

Saccharification analysis requires high sensitivity to monitor the enzymatic activity as biomass is hydrolyzed to sugar. Fast run times in which complex mixtures of sugars and byproducts, for example, organic acids, are fully resolved is critical for routine, accurate quantitation. The Dionex ICS-5000 RFIC Reagent-Free Ion Chromatography (RFIC) system using HPAE-PAD provides researchers developing saccharification enzymes for cellulosic biofuels production the ability to separate and quantify trace-level carbohydrates of interest in the presence of multiple interfering compounds.

One key advantage of HPAE-PAD over HPLC/RI is the ability to accurately quantify glucose and gluconic acid using a highly selective IC method that eliminates overlap with other interfering peaks. This information is critical for the conversion of biomass sugars to ethanol because organic acids, for example gluconic acid, are known to inhibit microbial fermentation and reduce ethanol yields.