Quantification of monosaccharide anhydrides by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry in lichen samples

J Chromatogr A. 2020 Feb 8;1612:460675. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2019.460675. Epub 2019 Nov 4.


Lichens are effective atmospheric bioindicators, and the bioaccumulation of pollutants is frequently measured in their tissues to assess contamination levels. Even though monosaccharide anhydrides are not directly considered as contaminants, Levoglucosan is a common tracer of biomass burning in atmospheric samples and measuring their accumulation in lichens could help to evaluate the main atmospheric pollution sources on a spatially resolved scale depending on the size of the sampling grid. In this work, a realiable analytical method to determine monosaccharide anhydrides in liches was developed. It is based on ASE extraction, solid phase extraction to clean the sample, and silylation derivatization before GC/MS analysis. The reliability and detection limits of the method were suited to the analysis of lichen samples, and additional quality tests achieved the validation of the method with lichen test matrix. Finally field samples were quantified and the results obtained were consistent with atmospheric levels.

Keywords: Atmospheric bioindicator; Biomass burning tracer; Levoglucosan; Lichen; Monosaccharide anhydrides.

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Lichens / chemistry*
  • Limit of Detection
  • Liquid-Liquid Extraction
  • Methylene Chloride / chemistry
  • Monosaccharides / analysis*
  • Monosaccharides / isolation & purification
  • Solid Phase Extraction
  • Sonication


  • Monosaccharides
  • Methylene Chloride