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Journal of Spectroscopy
Volume 2015, Article ID 719042, 12 pages
Research Article

Midinfrared FT-IR as a Tool for Monitoring Herbaceous Biomass Composition and Its Conversion to Furfural

1Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry, University of Pisa, Via G. Moruzzi 3, 56124 Pisa, Italy
2Department of Chemical, Management, Computer and Mechanical Engineering, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Edificio 6, 90128 Palermo, Italy
3Institute of Life Sciences, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Via Santa Cecilia 3, 56127 Pisa, Italy

Received 27 October 2014; Revised 18 February 2015; Accepted 18 February 2015

Academic Editor: Ana Domi­nguez-Vidal

Copyright © 2015 Anna Maria Raspolli Galletti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A semiquantitative analysis by means of midinfrared FT-IR spectroscopy was tuned for the simultaneous determination of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin in industrial crops such as giant reed (Arundo donax L.) and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.). Ternary mixtures of pure cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin were prepared and a direct correlation area/concentration was achieved for cellulose and lignin, whereas indirect correlations were found for hemicellulose quantification. Good correspondences between the values derived from our model and those reported in the literature or obtained according to the official Van Soest method were ascertained. Average contents of 40–45% of cellulose, 20–25% of hemicellulose, and 20–25% of lignin were obtained for different samples of giant reed species. In the case of switchgrass, a content of 36% of cellulose, 28% of hemicellulose, and 26% of lignin was achieved. This analysis was also carried out on giant reed and switchgrass residues after a mild hydrolysis step carried out with dilute hydrochloric acid for the production of furfural with good yield. Reasonable compositional data were obtained, thus allowing an indirect monitoring which helps the optimization of the hydrothermal pretreatment for furfural production from hemicellulose fractions.