Development of Methods for Analysis of Valuable Compounds in By-products from Agricultural and Forestry Industrial Sectors

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: A growing interest in sustainable development has made efficient utilisation of starting materials and, if they occur, by-products become increasingly important. Vast amounts of by-products are generated by the forestry and food industry. Incineration for energy production is one way to make use of these by-products but some of them contain compounds that would have an increased value if they were extracted, so called “high value species”. The by-products are often very complex, so reliable methods for analysis of the high value species are required in the development of processes to utilise them. A wide range of compounds can be analysed using chromatographic separation coupled to mass spectrometry, making it a powerful tool in the evaluation of methods for extracting high value species from industry by-products.This thesis is based on four studies of potential high value species. In the first study, methods were developed to differentiate isobaric flavonoids and then use this knowledge to determine the identity of the flavonoids in three different plant extracts. In the second study, three different methods to extract betulin from birch bark were evaluated regarding extracted amount and purity of betulin. One of the methods was then investigated in industrial scale using a model approach. In the third study, the flavonoid contents of lovage were determined and other major extracted compounds were investigated by high performance liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry. Gas chromatography and supercritical fluid chromatography were used to obtain complementary information about major components. In the fourth study, high resolution mass spectrometry utilising two different types of fragmentation was used with the purpose of overcoming the shortcomings of the methods developed in the first study. The results indicated that it would be possible to develop methods compatible with chromatographic separation for differentiating different types of isobaric substituents. The ability of performing sequential fragmentation was used to investigate some isobaric aglycones by creating spectral trees, and unique pathways were found for each of them.