Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Planta, Volume 229, Number 5, p.1099-108 (2009)
Keywords:Deconstruction, Enabling Technologies, Plants
Radical coupling reactions between ethyl ferulate (Et-FA), a simple model for feruloyl polysaccharides in planta, and coniferyl alcohol (CA), a monolignol, were studied in order to better understand the polymer cross-coupling interactions among polysaccharides and monolignols or lignin, mediated by ferulate (FA), in plant cell walls. Cross-coupled FA/CA dimers produced in an aqueous buffer (pH 5.0) containing peroxidase/hydrogen peroxide were isolated and characterized by NMR. The total coupling products were characterized by 2D (13)C-(1)H correlation (HSQC) NMR spectroscopy and GC-MS. Results from this study showed that ferulate readily cross-couples with coniferyl alcohol through free radical coupling mechanisms producing a series of cross-coupled FA/CA dimers with beta-O-4-, beta-5-/8-5-, and 8-beta-linkages; the syntheses and isolation of beta-5- and 8-5-cross-coupled dimers are reported here. The transformation from 8-beta-coupled FA/CA hydroxyl esters into lactones through intramolecular transesterification is demonstrated for the first time and mechanisms behind these transformations are discussed. The finding of both beta-5- and 8-5-cross-coupled dimers in this study suggests that analogs of both may be present in plant cell walls. Finally it is suggested that ferulates in plants indeed react with monolignols through free radical mechanisms producing a more diverse array of cross-coupled dimers than previously reported.