A new method for rapid determination of carbohydrate and total carbon concentrations using UV spectrophotometry

Albalasmeh, Ammar A. and Berhe, Asmeret Asefaw and Ghezzehei, Teamrat A.

Carbohydrate polymers, vol. 97(2), pp. 253-61 , 2013.


A new UV spectrophotometry based method for determining the concentration and carbon content of carbohydrate solution was developed. This method depends on the inherent UV absorption potential of hydrolysis byproducts of carbohydrates formed by reaction with concentrated sulfuric acid (furfural derivatives). The proposed method is a major improvement over the widely used Phenol-Sulfuric Acid method developed by DuBois, Gilles, Hamilton, Rebers, and Smith (1956). In the old method, furfural is allowed to develop color by reaction with phenol and its concentration is detected by visible light absorption. Here we present a method that eliminates the coloration step and avoids the health and environmental hazards associated with phenol use. In addition, avoidance of this step was shown to improve measurement accuracy while significantly reducing waiting time prior to light absorption reading. The carbohydrates for which concentrations and carbon content can be reliably estimated with this new rapid Sulfuric Acid-UV technique include: monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides with very high molecular weight.