Compositional Analysis of Lignocellulosic Feedstocks. 2. Method Uncertainties

David W. Templeton, Christopher J. Scarlata, Justin B. Sluiter, Edward J. Wolfrum

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163 Scopus Citations


The most common procedures for characterizing the chemical components of lignocellulosic feedstocks use a two-stage sulfuric acid hydrolysis to fractionate biomass for gravimetric and instrumental analyses. The uncertainty (i.e., dispersion of values from repeated measurement) in the primary data is of general interest to those with technical or financial interests in biomass conversion technology. The composition of a homogenized corn stover feedstock (154 replicate samples in 13 batches, by 7 analysts in 2 laboratories) was measured along with a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reference sugar cane bagasse, as a control, using this laboratory's suite of laboratory analytical procedures (LAPs). The uncertainty was evaluated by the statistical analysis of these data and is reported as the standard deviation of each component measurement. Censored and uncensored versions of these data sets are reported, as evidence was found for intermittent instrumental and equipment problems. The censored data are believed to represent the "best case" results of these analyses, whereas the uncensored data show how small method changes can strongly affect the uncertainties of these empirical methods. Relative standard deviations (RSD) of 1-3% are reported for glucan, xylan, lignin, extractives, and total component closure with the other minor components showing 4-10% RSD. The standard deviations seen with the corn stover and NIST bagasse materials were similar, which suggests that the uncertainties reported here are due more to the analytical method used than to the specific feedstock type being analyzed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)9054-9062
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2010

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-510-47591


  • Bagasse
  • Corn stover
  • Laboratory analytical procedure
  • LAP
  • Lignocellulose
  • Summative biomass compositional analysis
  • Uncertainty


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