Structural features of alternative lignin monomers associated with improved digestibility of artificially lignified maize cell walls

John H. Grabber, Christy Davidson, Yuki Tobimatsu, Hoon Kim, Fachuang Lu, Yimin Zhu, Martina Opietnik, Nicholas Santoro, Cliff E. Foster, Fengxia Yue, Dino Ress, Xuejun Pan, John Ralph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Plant biologists are seeking new approaches for modifying lignin to improve the digestion and utilization of structural polysaccharides in crop cultivars for the production of biofuels, biochemicals, and livestock. To identify promising targets for lignin bioengineering, we artificially lignified maize (Zea mays L.) cell walls with normal monolignols plus 21 structurally diverse alternative monomers to assess their suitability for lignification and for improving fiber digestibility. Lignin formation and structure were assessed by mass balance, Klason lignin, acetyl bromide lignin, gel-state 2D-NMR and thioacidolysis procedures, and digestibility was evaluated with rumen microflora and from glucose production by fungal enzymes following mild acid or base pretreatments. Highly acidic or hydrophilic monomers proved unsuitable for lignin modification because they severely depressed cell wall lignification. By contrast, monomers designed to moderately alter hydrophobicity or introduce cleavable acetal, amide, or ester functionalities into the polymer often readily formed lignin, but most failed to improve digestibility, even after chemical pretreatment. Fortunately, several types of phenylpropanoid derivatives containing multiple ester-linked catechol or pyrogallol units were identified as desirable genetic engineering targets because they readily formed wall-bound polymers and improved digestibility, presumably by blocking cross-linking of lignin to structural polysaccharides and promoting lignin fragmentation during mild acidic and especially alkaline pretreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110070
JournalPlant Science
Volume287
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2019

Fingerprint

Lignin
Cell Wall
Zea mays
lignin
digestibility
cell walls
corn
pretreatment
lignification
Polysaccharides
polymers
Polymers
Esters
polysaccharides
esters
thioacidolysis
Pyrogallol
pyrogallol
bioengineering
Bioengineering

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science

Cite this

Grabber, John H. ; Davidson, Christy ; Tobimatsu, Yuki ; Kim, Hoon ; Lu, Fachuang ; Zhu, Yimin ; Opietnik, Martina ; Santoro, Nicholas ; Foster, Cliff E. ; Yue, Fengxia ; Ress, Dino ; Pan, Xuejun ; Ralph, John. / Structural features of alternative lignin monomers associated with improved digestibility of artificially lignified maize cell walls. In: Plant Science. 2019 ; Vol. 287.
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abstract = "Plant biologists are seeking new approaches for modifying lignin to improve the digestion and utilization of structural polysaccharides in crop cultivars for the production of biofuels, biochemicals, and livestock. To identify promising targets for lignin bioengineering, we artificially lignified maize (Zea mays L.) cell walls with normal monolignols plus 21 structurally diverse alternative monomers to assess their suitability for lignification and for improving fiber digestibility. Lignin formation and structure were assessed by mass balance, Klason lignin, acetyl bromide lignin, gel-state 2D-NMR and thioacidolysis procedures, and digestibility was evaluated with rumen microflora and from glucose production by fungal enzymes following mild acid or base pretreatments. Highly acidic or hydrophilic monomers proved unsuitable for lignin modification because they severely depressed cell wall lignification. By contrast, monomers designed to moderately alter hydrophobicity or introduce cleavable acetal, amide, or ester functionalities into the polymer often readily formed lignin, but most failed to improve digestibility, even after chemical pretreatment. Fortunately, several types of phenylpropanoid derivatives containing multiple ester-linked catechol or pyrogallol units were identified as desirable genetic engineering targets because they readily formed wall-bound polymers and improved digestibility, presumably by blocking cross-linking of lignin to structural polysaccharides and promoting lignin fragmentation during mild acidic and especially alkaline pretreatment.",
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Grabber, JH, Davidson, C, Tobimatsu, Y, Kim, H, Lu, F, Zhu, Y, Opietnik, M, Santoro, N, Foster, CE, Yue, F, Ress, D, Pan, X & Ralph, J 2019, 'Structural features of alternative lignin monomers associated with improved digestibility of artificially lignified maize cell walls', Plant Science, vol. 287, 110070. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plantsci.2019.02.004

Structural features of alternative lignin monomers associated with improved digestibility of artificially lignified maize cell walls. / Grabber, John H.; Davidson, Christy; Tobimatsu, Yuki; Kim, Hoon; Lu, Fachuang; Zhu, Yimin; Opietnik, Martina; Santoro, Nicholas; Foster, Cliff E.; Yue, Fengxia; Ress, Dino; Pan, Xuejun; Ralph, John.

In: Plant Science, Vol. 287, 110070, 10.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Davidson, Christy

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AU - Lu, Fachuang

AU - Zhu, Yimin

AU - Opietnik, Martina

AU - Santoro, Nicholas

AU - Foster, Cliff E.

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AU - Ress, Dino

AU - Pan, Xuejun

AU - Ralph, John

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