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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 38 No. 2, p. 455-460
    Received: Oct 15, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s): DRB@ars.usda.gov
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Cell-Wall Composition of Maize Internodes of Varying Maturity

  1. T. A. Morrison,
  2. H. G. Jung,
  3. D. R. Buxton  and
  4. R. D. Hatfield
  1. D ep. of Agronomy and Soils, 201 Funchess Hall, Auburn Univ., AL 36849
    U SDA-ARS Plant Sci. Res. Unit and Dep. of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, Univ. of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108
    U SDA-ARS-NPS, Building 005, Rm. 212, BARC-West 103000 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705
    U SDA-ARS US Dairy Forage Res. Center, 1925 Linden Drive West, Madison, WI 53706



Incorporation of polysaccharides, hydroxycinnamic acids, and lignin were quantified in successive internodes along the maize (Zea mays L.) stalk, which displayed progressively greater cellular development. Rind and pith tissues of growth chamber-grown plants were dissected from internodes at the 15th leaf stage of development and cell-wall neutral sugars, uronic acids, Klason lignin, syringyl-to-guaiacyl (S/G) ratio, and ferulic acid (FA) and p-coumaric acid (PCA) ester and ether concentrations were determined. From the youngest internode (I13) to the oldest (17), cell-wall concentrations increased in rind tissue, whereas in pith tissue concentrations increased through I10, then plateaued. Cell-wall lignin concentrations increased from 75 to 140 g kg−1 and neutral sugar and uronic acid concentrations decreased from 836 and 101 g kg−1 to 759 and 36 g kg−1 cell wall, respectively. Rind vascular tissue, which lignified earlier and to a greater extent than pith tissue, had significantly higher levels of FA and PCA esters. Ferulic acid ester levels rose in younger I13 through I10, peaking at 6.6 g kg−1 cell wall, but declined to 3.6 g kg−1 cell wall in older, lignifying I9 through 17. Ferulic acid ether levels rose and peaked early in lignification, but fell during subsequent maturation. Concentrations of PCA esters rose with internode maturity (from 1.8-23 g kg−1 cell wall) and this pattern mirrored a steady rise in S/G ratio of the lignin. Our results suggest that FA is laid down in ester linkages to primary cell-wall polysaccharides and provides ether-linkage initiation sites for lignin.

Joint contribution of the Field Crops Res. Unit, Plant Sci. Res. Unit, and the U.S. Dairy Forage Res. Center of USDA-ARS and Iowa State Univ. Journal Paper no. J-16979.

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