Background: The currently emerging utilization of biomass for chemicals
on an industrial scale is linked to the use of available plant materials, especially
of wood and other lignocelluloses. The chemical analysis of biomass for
process development and control can be considerably difficult due to the diversity
of its constituents, which can cause interferences with the analysis of the target
analyte. The capabilities of thin layer chromatography are especially suited for
samples that contain a large portion of interfering components, both for quick
qualitative screenings and the quantitative analysis of individual components.
Methods: A review of the existing literature on the analysis of wood derived compounds
by thin layer chromatography was compiled. An introduction to the general
capabilities of thin layer chromatography was added for readers unacquainted to the technique.
Results: Thin layer chromatography has been applied to all wood components: carbohydrates, phenols,
lignans and extractives. The analytical aims comprised amongst others the identification of
wood and pitch components, changes in wood composition over time or after treatments, and the
quantification of individual compounds.
Conclusion: Thin layer chromatography is a very suitable tool for the analysis of wood derived biomass
due to its robustness and the ease of detection and hyphenation. It has been used to achieve
challenging analytical tasks and can be a well-founded choice to investigate wood derived compounds.