, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 65-83

Hydroxycinnamates in lignification

Purchase on Springer.com

$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Hydroxycinnamates incorporate into lignins by various mechanisms. The polysaccharide esters of ferulate, in particular, and the range of dehydrodiferulates and higher oligomers in grasses, participate in free-radical (cross-)coupling reactions during lignification to become integrally bound into the lignin polymer, resulting in extensive cross-linking between lignins and polysaccharides. Monolignol-hydroxycinnamate (primarily monolignol-p-coumarate) conjugates are primary building blocks for lignins, again in grasses (but analogously with monolignol acetates and p-hydroxybenzoates in other plants); radical coupling reactions of the monolignol moiety of the conjugate result in lignins with pendant p-coumarate units acylating a variety of lignin structures. Recent evidence suggests that even the hydroxycinnamic acids themselves can be monomers in lignification in wild-type and transgenic plants, undergoing radical cross-coupling reactions to incorporate into the polymer with interesting consequences. The compatibility of ferulate, in particular, with lignification suggests that plants able to utilize monolignol-ferulate conjugates in their primary monomer supply will be particularly well suited for subsequent chemical delignification, potentially improving processes for biomass conversion to biofuels, and for chemical pulping.