Aspects of determining biomass-based levoglucosenone by UHPLC–UV in aqueous samples

  • Kristine Meile
  • Daniela Godina
  • Aivars Zhurinsh
  • Ralfs Pomilovskis
Keywords: pyrolysis, levoglucosenone, stability, chromatography


The depletion of fossil resources and concerns about the environment encourage the search for renewable biomass-based chemicals with broad applications. Levoglucosenone (LGO) is a carbohydrate derivative obtained by the pyrolysis of cellulose containing raw materials. Because of its two chiral centres LGO is particularly appealing to the organic synthesis industry, therefore improved ways of producing LGO are continuously investigated. This study deals with the quality control of the LGO containing pyrolysis products by modern UHPLC–UV methods. Acceptable chromatographic separation of LGO could be achieved in most samples of pyrolysis products obtained from birch (Betula pendula) wood. However, a significant degradation of LGO was observed in aqueous solutions, which needs to be taken into consideration both when performing analysis, as well as during the storage of the pyrolysis products which are generally recovered from the pyrolysis reactor as a water condensate. The degradation rate of LGO in a water/acetonitrile solution, which corresponds with the mobile phase of the UHPLC method, at 5°C was 1.8% a day. Even faster degradation occurred in samples without the addition of acetonitrile.
Analytical Chemistry