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Research article2004Peer reviewed

Variation in content and composition of lignin in young wood of Norway spruce

Wadenback J, Clapham D, Gellerstedt G, von Arnold S


Lignin content and composition are important traits in several tree breeding programs, but very little is known about their natural variation. This study compares the lignin content in 1-yearold plants and 9-yearold trees of Norway spruce belonging to the same fullsib families. It is shown that the lignin content, according to the modified acetyl bromide method, does not vary significantly within or among the different fullsib families either as plants or as young trees. There is, however, on average 4.0% higher lignin content (31.4% versus 27.4%) and lower standard error for the trees than for the plants. The number of C9-units/g(-1) lignin, analyzed by thioacidolysis, ranges from 516 to 1186 mummol C9-units/g(-1) lignin in plants and from 716 to 953 mumol C9-units/g(-1) lignin in trees, with no significant differences among the families. However, the extent of change in C9-units/g(-1) lignin varies among the families with age. The ratio of erythro and threo stereoisomers does not vary significantly among the families. However, the ratio changes differently with age among the families similar to the C9-units g(-1) lignin. Additionally, the content of phydroxyphenyl (H) lignin is 0.6% higher in the trees than in the plants (1.4% versus 0.8%), estimated indirectly from GCMS data by a novel subtractive technique, indicating a higher degree of compression wood in the young trees. In conclusion, the amount and composition of lignin does not vary within or among the families at the same age. However, the amount of lignin increases with age while the change in lignin composition varies between family and age

Published in

2004, Volume: 58, number: 2, pages: 107-115