Separation and Characterization of Biomass Components (Cellulose, Hemicellulose, and Lignin) from Corn Stalk

Yan Zhang, Huile Wang, Xindi Sun, Yifan Wang, Zhong Liu


Representative hemicellulose, milled wood lignin (MWL), and cellulose were directly separated from corn stalk, and their main chemical content was determined using NREL methods. The chemical elements, chemical groups, and molecular structure of corn stalk biomass components (hemicellulose, MWL, and cellulose) were analyzed by elemental analysis, Fourier transform infrared, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy analyses.The results showed that the purity of the biomass components separated from corn stalk was high, the degree of damage was relatively small, and their own structural characteristics were relatively intact. The hemicellulose that was separated from corn stalk was mainly composed of L-arabino-β-(1→4)-D-glucuronoxylan units. There were also sugar residues attached to the main chain in the form of side chains, such as D-glucopyranose, galactose, glucuronic acid, and galacturonic acid. The isolated cellulose consisted of glucosyl linked by β-(1→4)-glucosidic bond. The MWL separated from corn stalk has a GSH-type of β-O-4 structure, and the contents were as follows, in order of more to less: guaiacyl (G), p-hydroxyphenyl (H), and syringyl (S) units. Biomass components with high purity were separated from corn stalk, and their respective structure and composition were understood, which provides a foundation for the subsequent high-value utilization of corn stalk.


Corn stalk; Cellulose; Hemicellulose; MWL; Separation

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