skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect


Excellent progress was made in standardizing three complementary methods: Magnetic resonance imaging, x-ray micro CT, and MALDI imaging linear ion trap mass spectroscopy to image biomass and chemical, anatomical and functional changes that occur during pretreatment and hydrolysis. Magnetic resonance microscopy provides excellent images with as low as 5 uM resolution with hydrated biomass samples. We visualized dramatic changes in signal associated with the hydrolysis of the carbohydrates by strong acids. Quantitative diffusion approaches were used to probe more subtle structural changes in biomass. Diffusion tensor calculations reflect diffusion anisotropy and fractional anisotropy maps clearly show the longer range diffusion within the vessels compared to within the fiber cells. The diffusion is increased along the cell walls of the vessels. Suggesting that further research with NMR imaging should be pursued. X-ray CT provides excellent images at as low as 3.5 uM resolution from dried biomass. Small increases in surface area, and decreases in local density have been quantified in with wood after mild pretreatments; these changes are expected to be underestimates of the hydrated wood, due to the ~12% shrinkage that occurs upon drying untreated wood. MALDI-MS spectra show high ion intensities at most mass to charge ratios in untreatedmore » and pretreated woody material. MALDI-MSn is required to improve specificity and reduce background for imaging. MALDI-TOF is not specific enough for carbohydrate identification. Using MALDI-LIT/MSn we can readily identify oligomeric glucans and xylans and their fragmentation patterns as well as those of the glucuronic acid side chains of birch 4-O-methyl glucuronxylan. Imaging of glucan and xylan oligomers show that many contain isobaric ions with different distributions, indicating again that MSn is needed for accurate imaging of lignocellulosic materials. We are now starting to integrate the three imaging methods by using the same set of biomass samples imaged with all three methods, and using common analytical software to quantify parameters from the three dimensional images. In addition to the proposed experiments, we conducted imaging studies with a novel TOF-SIMS instrument available through collaborations with the AMOLF goup led by Ron Heeren at the FOM Institute in Amersterdam, Netherlands. ToF-SIMS was used to image intact cross sections of Populus stems with high spatial resolution, chemically selectivity. ToF-SIMS images were correlated with fluorescence microscopy which allowed for more positive ion identification.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Contributing Orgs:
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS Imaging, nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectrometry imaging, x-ray computed tomography