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J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Dec 31;51(27):8080-7.

Variation in cell wall composition among forage maize (Zea mays L.) inbred lines and its impact on digestibility: analysis of neutral detergent fiber composition by pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

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Unité de Génétique et d'Amélioration des Plantes Fourragères, INRA, 86600 Lusignan, France.


Cell wall digestibility is an important determinant of forage quality, but the relationship between cell wall composition and digestibility is poorly understood. We analyzed the neutral detergent fiber (NDF) fraction of nine maize inbred lines and one brown midrib3 mutant with pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Py-GC-MS). Among 29 pyrolysis fragments that were quantified, two carbohydrate-derived and six lignin-derived fragments showed statistically significant genetic variation. The pyrolysis products 4-vinyl phenol and 2,6-dimethoxy-4-vinyl phenol were negatively correlated with digestibility, whereas furfural and 3-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-3-oxopropanal showed a positive correlation with digestibility. Linear discriminant analysis of the pyrolysis data resulted in the resolution of groups of inbred lines with different digestibility properties based on their chemical composition. These analyses reveal that digestibility is governed by complex interactions between different cell wall compounds, but that several pyrolysis fragments can be used as markers to distinguish between maize lines with different digestibility.

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