Surface characterization of biomass by imaging mass spectrometry
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Lignocellulosic biomass (e.g., non food-based agricultural resides and forestry wastes) has recently been promoted for use as a source of bioethanol instead of food-based materials (e.g., corn and sugar cane), however to fully realize these benefits an improved understanding of lignocellulosic recalcitrance must be developed. The primary goal of this thesis is to gain fundamental knowledge about the surface of the plant cell wall, which is to be integrated into understanding biomass recalcitrance. Imaging mass spectrometry by TOF-SIMS and MALDI-IMS is applied to understand detailed spatial and lateral changes of major components in the surface of biomass under submicron scale. Using TOF-SIMS analysis, we have demonstrated a dilute acid pretreated poplar stem represented chemical differences between surface and bulk compositions. Especially, abundance of xylan was observed on the surface while sugar profile data showed most xylan (ca. 90%) removed from the bulk composition. Water only flowthrough pretreated poplar also represented difference chemistry between surface and bulk, which more cellulose revealed on the surface compared to bulk composition. In order to gain the spatial chemical distribution of biomass, 3-dimensional (3D) analysis of biomass using TOF-SIMS has been firstly introduced in the specific application of understanding recalcitrance. MALDI-IMS was also applied to visualize different molecular weight (e.g., DP) of cellulose oligomers on the surface of biomass.