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J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Oct 18;54(21):8352-61.

NMR characterization of lignins isolated from fruit and vegetable insoluble dietary fiber.

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  • 1Institute of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry, Department of Food Chemistry, University of Hamburg, Grindelallee 117, 20146 Hamburg, Germany.


Compositional information for lignins in food is rare and concentrated on cereal grains and brans. As lignins are suspected to have important health roles in the dietary fiber complex, the confusing current information derived from nonspecific lignin determination methods needs to be augmented by diagnostic structural studies. For this study, lignin fractions were isolated from kiwi, pear, rhubarb, and, for comparison, wheat bran insoluble dietary fiber. Clean pear and kiwi lignin isolates allowed for substantive structural profiling, but it is suggested that the significance of lignin in wheat has been overestimated by reliance on nonspecific analytical methods. Volume integration of NMR contours in two-dimensional (13)C-(1)H correlation spectra shows that pear and wheat lignins have comparable guaiacyl and syringyl contributions and that kiwi lignins are particularly guaiacyl-rich (approximately 94% guaiacyl) and suggest that rhubarb lignins, which could not be isolated from contaminating materials, are as syringyl-rich (approximately 96% syringyl) as lignins from any known natural or transgenic fiber source. Typical lignin structures, including those newly NMR-validated (glycerols, spirodienones, and dibenzodioxocins), and resinols implicated as possible mammalian lignan precursors in the gut are demonstrated via their NMR correlation spectra in the fruit and vegetable samples. A novel putative benzodioxane structure appears to be associated with the kiwi lignin. It is concluded that the fruits and vegetables examined contain authentic lignins and that the detailed structural analysis exposes limitations of currently accepted analytical methods.

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