Characterization of natural resin shellac by reactive pyrolysis-gas chromatography in the presence of organic alkali

Anal Chem. 1999 Apr 1;71(7):1316-22. doi: 10.1021/ac981049e.


A method to determine chemical composition of natural resin shellac was developed on the basis of reactive pyrolysis-gas chromatography (Py-GC) in the presence of an organic alkali, tetramethylammonium hydroxide ((CH(3))(4)NOH, TMAH). Py-GC using 25% TMAH aqueous solution enabled the highly sensitive determination of terpenic acids, aleuritic acid, several minor fatty acids, and the wax components of shellac as their methyl derivatives on the resulting pyrograms with less than 2.0% relative standard deviations without using any cumbersome pretreatment. The observed average distributions of each resin acid component determined by reactive Py-GC for shellac samples from India and Thailand showed that the average ratios among terpenic acids, aleuritic acid, and the other fatty acids were about 53:34:14 for Indian shellac and 51:35:14 for Thailand shellac, respectively, suggesting a slightly significant difference. However, clearer discrimination of the shellac samples from the two different growing places was attainable by applying principal component analysis for the mole percent distributions of all the acidic components determined by reactive Py-GC.