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FT-Raman Spectroscopy of Wood: Identifying Contributions of Lignin and Carbohydrate Polymers in the Spectrum of Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Volume 51, Number 11 (Nov. 1997) Page 1648-1655

Agarwal, Umesh P.; Ralph, Sally A.


Good-quality Raman spectra of most wood species can now be obtained by using near-infrared Fourier transform Raman spectroscopy. To make effective use of such spectroscopic information, one needs to interpret the data in terms of contributions from various wood components and, for each component polymer, in terms of vibrational modes of its substructural units/groups. In the present work, Raman spectral features of black spruce (Picea mariana) wood were associated with lignin and/or carbohydrate polymers. Lignin's spectral contributions were recognized in several ways. In addition to spectra of milled-wood and enzyme lignins, a spectrum of native lignin was obtained by subtracting the spectrum of acid chlorite delignified black spruce from the spectrum of an untreated wood sample. A comparison of lignin spectra indicated that the Raman features of the three lignins are very similar. Raman contributions of carbohydrate polymers, namely, those of cellulose and hemicellulose, were identified by using authentic and/or isolated samples and, in the case of cellulose, by using previously published spectra. Such an analysis showed that the hemicellulose present in black spruce did not give rise to any new, unique features that were not already present due to cellulose. Therefore, it was concluded that the hemicellulose contribution is broad and is hidden under the Raman contribution of cellulose. Also, peak positions of lignin contributions did not overlap with those of cellulose, and there were spectral regions where either lignin or cellulose contributed.