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The Lignin Conundrum - Complex Plant Biomacromolecules with Obscure Traits


Lignin (from the Latin lignum, meaning wood) is a major component of the vascular plant cell walls. Recently, the presence of

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Figure 1 : The three major monolignols, p-coumaryl, coniferyl, and sinapyl alcohols. When incorporated into lignin, they are referred to as p-hydroxyphenyl (H), guaiacyl (G), and syringyl (S) units. (From Sangha et al., 2012)

Chemical Composition

Conventionally, lignin is defined as a polyphenolic polymer basically made from three hydroxycinnamyl alcohols, called the monolignols, respectively, p-coumaryl, coniferyl

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Figure 3 : H, G, and S biosynthesis pathways. (From Rinaldi et al., 2016)


Four steps may be distinguished in lignin formation : 1/ biosynthesis of monolignols ; 2/ transport of monolignols to the plant cell wall ; 3/ enzymatic

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The Authors

Katia Ruel Katia Ruel is actually retired from her position as Research Director at CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche

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