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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Lu, Fachuang
item Ralph, John

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/4/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: A major component in all terrestrial plants, lignin is a polymer that limits digestion of plants by animals and must be removed from wood to make paper. We recently developed a new analytical method, the "DFRC" method (for Derivatization Followed by Reductive Cleavage, but also identifying the Dairy Forage Research Center where it was developed) that cleanly degrades lignins to simple analyzable compounds that give a tremendous insight into the structural details of the original lignin. This paper reports on the application of the method to a range of lignins from grasses, legumes, and hard- and softwoods. Quantification of the products shows the yields to be comparable to or higher than other analytical methods and is significantly easier. This paper also identifies several dozen minor components that give more detailed insight into the minor components in lignins. Scientists will use this technique in a wide variety yof studies ranging from optimization of pulping processes in pulp mills to the identification of how a plant responds to various genetic mutations that are forced on it. Such studies are at the heart of efforts to improve agricultural sustainability and maximize our wood resources.

Technical Abstract: Monomers released from DFRC degradation of lignins have been identified by mass spectra and/or comparison of their GC retention times with authentic compounds. The primary monomers from several isolated lignins representing softwoods, hardwoods, grasses, and dicots have been quantified by GLC. Sources of the minor monomeric components have been rationalized based on DFRC mechanisms. From isolated lignins, the DFRC method appears to produce simpler mixtures of monomers with yields comparable to or higher than other analytical methods.

Last Modified: 05/22/2017
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