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J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Feb 26;51(5):1313-21.

Variations in the cell wall composition of maize brown midrib mutants.

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  • 1U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Most studies published thus far on the four brown midrib (bm) mutants (bm1, bm2, bm3, and bm4) in maize (Zea mays L.) have focused on one or two individual mutants, and comparisons between studies have been difficult because of variation in genetic backgrounds, maturity, and source of tissue. Detailed analyses of the stalks of the four bm single mutants and a bm1-bm2 double mutant in a common genetic background (inbred A619) revealed structural and compositional changes in their isolated cell walls and lignins compared to the wild-type inbred. 2D-NMR revealed a significant presence of benzodioxane units in the bm3 isolated lignin. 1D (13)C NMR revealed increased aldehyde levels in the bm1 and bm1-bm2 mutants compared to the wild-type inbred. The bm3 and bm1-bm2 mutants contained less Klason lignin in the isolated cell walls. The bm1, bm3, and bm1-bm2 mutants contained approximately 50% less esterified p-coumaric acid with noticeably elevated levels of ferulate in the bm3 mutant. A difference among bm mutants in the solubility of p-coumaric acid-lignin complexes during cellulase enzyme treatment was also discovered, suggesting that the bm mutations might also differ in the structural organization of lignin.

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