Prediction of Klason lignin and lignin thermal degradation products by Py–GC/MS in a collection of Lolium and Festuca grasses

R. Fahmi, A. V. Bridgwater, S. C. Thain, Iain Donnison, P. M. Morris, N. Yates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


A rapid method for the analysis of biomass feedstocks was established to identify the quality of the pyrolysis products likely to impact on bio-oil production. A total of 15 Lolium and Festuca grasses known to exhibit a range of Klason lignin contents were analysed by pyroprobe–GC/MS (Py–GC/MS) to determine the composition of the thermal degradation products of lignin. The identification of key marker compounds which are the derivatives of the three major lignin subunits (G, H, and S) allowed pyroprobe-GC/MS to be statistically correlated to the Klason lignin content of the biomass using the partial least-square method to produce a calibration model. Data from this multivariate modelling procedure was then applied to identify likely “key marker” ions representative of the lignin subunits from the mass spectral data. The combined total abundance of the identified key markers for the lignin subunits exhibited a linear relationship with the Klason lignin content. In addition the effect of alkali metal concentration on optimum pyrolysis characteristics was also examined. Washing of the grass samples removed approximately 70% of the metals and changed the characteristics of the thermal degradation process and products. Overall the data indicate that both the organic and inorganic specification of the biofuel impacts on the pyrolysis process and that pyroprobe–GC/MS is a suitable analytical technique to asses lignin composition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-23
JournalJournal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis
Issue number1
Early online date23 Dec 2006
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2007


  • Klason lignin
  • Py-GC/MS
  • biomass washing
  • alkali metals


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