Banner for LabNotes
From Lab Notes
Contact Information
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


You are here: FPL Home  / Research  / Units  / Analytical Chemistry and Microscopy Laboratory  / Featured Technology - Chromatography

Featured Technology - Chromatography


fpl Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS)

GC/MS is used for the separation and chemical identification of components of mixtures of volatile materials. The components are separated using gas chromatography and the individual components identified through mass spectroscopy.
  • Gas phase separation
  • Volatile materials
  • Sensitive and specific detection

fpl High Pressure Liquid Chromatography

Ion chromatography is mostly applied for quantitative sugar analysis--the resolution and quantification of polysaccharides after hydrolysis. Capability also exists to separate polymeric species by molecular weight using gel permeation chromatography.

fpl Sugar Analysis

All carbohydrates (cellulose and hemicellulose) are composed of sugar molecules which are chemically linked. Through sugar analysis the carbo-hydrates are decomposed into individual sugars. The mixture of sugars is separated by chromatography and each sugar is measured quantitatively.
  • Hydrolysis (carbohydrate -> sugars)
  • Chromatographic separation
  • Electrochemical detection
  • Quantitative
  • Sensitivity and limits vary
  • Difficult to look for small differences

fpl Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS)

Similar to GC/MS but is not limited to materials which can be volatilized. Separation of mixtures is effected by chromatography of solutions. The solutes are separated from the solvent at the entrance of the mass spectrometer.
  • Separation from solution
  • Very sensitive and specific detection
  • Fragment to ions then weigh
  • Difficult transfer solute to gas phase