High-throughput Soxhlet extraction method applied for analysis of leaf lignocellulose and non-structural substances

Alejandra Torres-Rodriguez*, Roshanak Darvishzadeh, Andrew k. Skidmore, Erna Fränzel-Luiten, Benno Knaken, Boelo Schuur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The traditional Soxhlet extraction method is commonly employed to extract soluble components from non-soluble components in a solid matrix, for example, non-structural substances in biomass samples that can be separated from structural lignocellulosic compounds in biomass samples. Conventional laboratory procedures for such extractions typically involve a low sample throughput, with each run being performed individually, resulting in time-consuming and labour-intensive processes, making them impractical for analysing large sample sets. In research fields such as Earth Observation in Forest Ecosystems, extensive fieldwork sampling is required across large study areas, resulting in a substantial number of leaf samples, each with limited mass. In this study, an innovative adaptation of the conventional National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Soxhlet method is developed to create a high-throughput mini-Soxhlet apparatus that enables the simultaneous extraction of up to nineteen samples, each with a mass of 0.3 g per sample. With this adaptation, we measured the lignocellulose and extractive in 343 leaf samples collected from four temperate forest tree species. This modified approach enhances versatility and can be applied to all solid-liquid extractions and various types of vegetation tissues, such as tree leaves, shrubs, crops, feedstock, and other non-woody samples.

• The solid-liquid extraction method has been implemented in a heating block facilitating 19 small flasks to measure multiple samples simultaneously while requiring only a small sample mass.

• The apparatus set-up was constructed using an alumina heating block mounted on a standard laboratory heating plate. Boiling flask tubes were placed in the heating block and equipped with condenser caps and filters on glass rods on which the solid samples were placed.

• The adjustments made the method suitable for application to diverse vegetation tissues and non-woody sample types. It holds particular appeal for research areas that necessitate a high sample number.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102644
Pages (from-to)1-7
Early online date8 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


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