High-throughput microanalysis of large lignocellulosic sample sets by Pyrolysis-Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry
Physiol Plant. 2016, 156(2):127-138

Gerber L, Öhman D, Kumar M, Ranocha P, Goffner D, Sundberg B

High-throughput analytical techniques to assess the chemistry of lignocellulosic plant material are crucial to plant cell wall research. We have established an analytical platform for this purpose and demonstrated its usefulness with two applications. The system is based on analytical pyrolysis, coupled to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry a technique particularly suited for analysis of lignocellulose. Automated multivariate-based data processing methods are used to obtain results within a few hours after analysis, with an experimental batch of 500 analyzed samples. The usefulness of multivariate sample discrimination methods and hierarchical clustering of samples is demonstrated. We have analyzed an Arabidopsis mutant collection consisting of 300 samples representing 31 genotypes. The mutant collection is presented through cluster analysis, based on chemotypic difference, with respect to wild type. Further, we have analyzed 500 thin sections from five biological replicate trees to create a spatial highly-resolved profile of the proportions of syringyl-, guaiacyl- and p-hydroxyphenyl lignin across phloem, developing and mature wood in aspen. The combination of biologically easy to interpret information, the low demand of sample amount, and the flexibility in sample types amenable to analysis, make this technique a valuable extension to the range of established high-throughput biomaterial analytical platforms.

E-link to publication