Use of lignin extracted from different plant sources as standards in the spectrophotometric acetyl bromide lignin method

J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Apr 27;59(8):3505-9. doi: 10.1021/jf104826n. Epub 2011 Mar 4.


A nongravimetric acetyl bromide lignin (ABL) method was evaluated to quantify lignin concentration in a variety of plant materials. The traditional approach to lignin quantification required extraction of lignin with acidic dioxane and its isolation from each plant sample to construct a standard curve via spectrophotometric analysis. Lignin concentration was then measured in pre-extracted plant cell walls. However, this presented a methodological complexity because extraction and isolation procedures are lengthy and tedious, particularly if there are many samples involved. This work was targeted to simplify lignin quantification. Our hypothesis was that any lignin, regardless of its botanical origin, could be used to construct a standard curve for the purpose of determining lignin concentration in a variety of plants. To test our hypothesis, lignins were isolated from a range of diverse plants and, along with three commercial lignins, standard curves were built and compared among them. Slopes and intercepts derived from these standard curves were close enough to allow utilization of a mean extinction coefficient in the regression equation to estimate lignin concentration in any plant, independent of its botanical origin. Lignin quantification by use of a common regression equation obviates the steps of lignin extraction, isolation, and standard curve construction, which substantially expedites the ABL method. Acetyl bromide lignin method is a fast, convenient analytical procedure that may routinely be used to quantify lignin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / chemistry*
  • Lignin / chemistry*
  • Lignin / isolation & purification
  • Lignin / standards
  • Plants / chemistry*
  • Reference Standards
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Acetates
  • Lignin
  • acetyl bromide