Estimation of crystalline cellulose content of plant biomass using the updegraff method

Lavanya Dampanaboina, Ning Yuan, Venugopal Mendu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Cellulose is the most abundant polymer on Earth generated by photosynthesis and the main load-bearing component of cell walls. The cell wall plays a significant role in plant growth and development by providing strength, rigidity, rate and direction of cell growth, cell shape maintenance, and protection from biotic and abiotic stressors. The cell wall is primarily composed of cellulose, lignin, hemicellulose and pectin. Recently plant cell walls have been targeted for the second-generation biofuel and bioenergy production. Specifically, the cellulose component of the plant cell wall is used for the production of cellulosic ethanol. Estimation of cellulose content of biomass is critical for fundamental and applied cell wall research. The Updegraff method is simple, robust, and the most widely used method for the estimation of crystalline cellulose content of plant biomass. The alcohol insoluble crude cell wall fraction upon treatment with Updegraff reagent eliminates the hemicellulose and lignin fractions. Later, the Updegraff reagent resistant cellulose fraction is subjected to sulfuric acid treatment to hydrolyze the cellulose homopolymer into monomeric glucose units. A regression line is developed using various concentrations of glucose and used to estimate the amount of the glucose released upon cellulose hydrolysis in the experimental samples. Finally, the cellulose content is estimated based on the amount of glucose monomers by colorimetric anthrone assay.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere62031
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number171
StatePublished - 2021


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