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Planta. 2011 Jun;233(6):1097-110. doi: 10.1007/s00425-011-1359-2. Epub 2011 Feb 5.

Quantification of lignin-carbohydrate linkages with high-resolution NMR spectroscopy.

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Department of Wood and Paper Science, North Carolina State University, Box 8005, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.


A quantitative approach to characterize lignin-carbohydrate complex (LCC) linkages using a combination of quantitative ¹³C NMR and HSQC 2D NMR techniques has been developed. Crude milled wood lignin (MWLc), LCC extracted from MWLc with acetic acid (LCC-AcOH) and cellulolytic enzyme lignin (CEL) preparations were isolated from loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) and white birch (Betula pendula) woods and characterized using this methodology on a routine 300 MHz NMR spectrometer and on a 950 MHz spectrometer equipped with a cryogenic probe. Structural variations in the pine and birch LCC preparations of different types (MWL, CEL and LCC-AcOH) were elucidated. The use of the high field NMR spectrometer equipped with the cryogenic probe resulted in a remarkable improvement in the resolution of the LCC signals and, therefore, is of primary importance for an accurate quantification of LCC linkages. The preparations investigated showed the presence of different amounts of benzyl ether, γ-ester and phenyl glycoside LCC bonds. Benzyl ester moieties were not detected. Pine LCC-AcOH and birch MWLc preparations were preferable for the analysis of phenyl glycoside and ester LCC linkages in pine and birch, correspondingly, whereas CEL preparations were the best to study benzyl ether LCC structures. The data obtained indicate that pinewood contains higher amounts of benzyl ether LCC linkages, but lower amounts of phenyl glycoside and γ-ester LCC moieties as compared to birch wood.

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