Simultaneous analysis of C1 and C4 oxidized oligosaccharides, the products of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases acting on cellulose

Bjørge Westereng*, Magnus T. Arntzen, Finn L. Aachmann, Anikó Várnai, Vincent G. H. Eijsink, Jane Wittrup Agger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases play a pivotal role in enzymatic deconstruction of plant cell wall material due to their ability to catalyze oxidative cleavage of glycosidic bonds. LPMOs may release different products, often in small amounts, with various oxidation patterns (C1 or C4) and with varying stabilities, making accurate analysis of product profiles a major challenge. So far, HPAEC has been the method of choice but it has limitations with respect to analysis of C4-oxidized products. Here, we compare various HPLC methods and present procedures that allow efficient separation of intact C1- and C4-oxidized products. We demonstrate that both PGC and HILIC (in WAX-mode) can separate C1- and C4-oxidized products and that PGC gives superior chromatographic performance. In contrast to HPAEC, these methods are directly compatible with mass spectroscopy and charged aerosol detection (CAD), which enables online peak validation and quantification with LOD levels in the low ng range. While the novel methods show lower resolution than HPAEC, this is compensated by easy peak identification, allowing, for example, discrimination between chromatographically highly similar native and C4-oxidized cello-oligomers. HPAEC-MS studies revealed chemical oxidation of C4-geminal diol products, which implies that peaks commonly believed to be C4-oxidized cello-oligomers, in fact are on-column generated derivatives. Non-destructive separation of C4-oxidized cello-oligosaccharides on the PGC column allowed us, for the first time, to isolate C4-oxidized standards. HPAEC fractionation of a purified C4-oxidized tetramer revealed that on-column decomposition leads to formation of the native trimer, which may explain why product mixtures generated by C4-oxidizing LPMOs seem to be rich in native oligosaccharides when analyzed by HPAEC. The findings and methods described here will aid in future studies in the emerging LPMO field.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
Pages (from-to)46-54
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbohydrates
  • High-performance anion exchange chromatography
  • LC-MS
  • Lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases
  • Oxidized oligosaccharides
  • Porous graphitized carbon chromatography


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