Rangées de graines.. © INRA, Elena Schweitzer © Fotolia

Our results

Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Human milk digestion in the preterm infant: impact of technological treatments
  3. Research & Innovation 2017 - For Food and Biobased Products
  4. The way in which proteins aggregate when heated may change their sensitising potency
  5. Enhancing the viability of spray-dried probiotic bacteria by stimulating their stress tolerance
  6. To stick or not to stick? Pulling pili sheds new light on biofilm formation
  7. When biopolymers selfassemble: a balance between energy and entropy.
  8. Mimicking the gastrointestinal digestion in a lab-on-a-chip:the microdigester
  9. How a milk droplet becomes a powder grain
  10. Research & Innovation 2016 - For Food and Bioproducts
  11. A new process for the biorefining of plants
  12. Under the UV light : the bacterial membrane
  13. Reverse engineering or how to rebuild ... bread!
  14. Green Chemistry: a step towards lipid production in yeast
  15. Individually designed neo-enzymes for antibacterial vaccines
  16. Multi-scale mechanical modelling: from the nanometric scale to the macroscopic properties of bread crumb
  17. Minimill: 500 g to assess the milling value of soft wheats
  18. Microbial production of lipids for energy or chemical purposes
  19. The discrete role of ferulic acid in the assembly of lignified cell wall
  20. Eco-design of composites made from wood co-products
  21. Analysis of volatile compounds enables the authentication of a poultry production system
  22. Nanoparticles as capping agents for biopolymers microscopy
  23. Pasteurisation, UHT, microfiltration...All the processes don't affect the nutritional quality of milk in the same way
  24. Integration of expert knowledge applied to cheese ripening
  25. Controlling cheese mass loss during ripening
  26. The shape memory of starch
  27. Research & Innovation 2015 - For Food & Biobased Products
  28. Behaviour of casein micelles during milk filtering operations
  29. Overaccumulation of lipids by the yeast S. cerevisiae for the production of biokerosine
  30. Sequential ventilation in cheese ripening rooms: 50% electrical energy savings
  31. An innovative process to extract bioactive compounds from wheat
  32. Diffusion weighted MRI: a generic tool for the microimaging of lipids in food matrices
  33. Characterization of a major gene of anthocyanin biosynthesis in grape berry
  34. New enzyme activity detectors made from semi-reflective biopolymer nanolayers
  35. Improving our knowledge about the structure of the casein micelle
  36. Heating milk seems to favour the development of allergy in infants
  37. Fun with Shape
  38. Using volatile metabolites in meat products to detect livestock contamination by environmental micropollutants
  39. SensinMouth, when taste makes sense
  40. A decision support system for the fresh fruit and vegetable chain based on a knowledge engineering approach
  41. SOLEIL casts light on the 3D structure of proteins responsible for the stabilisation of storage lipids in oilseed plants
  42. A close-up view of the multi-scale protein assembly process
  43. Controlling the drying of infant dairy products by taking water-constituent interactions into account
  44. Polysccharide nanocrystals to stabilise pickering emulsions
  45. Discovery of new degradative enzymes of plant polysaccharides in the human intestinal microbiome
  46. A durum wheat flour adapted for the production of traditional baguettes
  47. Virtual modelling to guide the construction of « tailored-made » enzymes
  48. How far can we reduce the salt content of cooked meat products?
  49. Diffusion of organic substances in polymer materials: beyond existing scaling laws
  50. Smart Foams : various ways to destroy foams on demand !
  51. Dates, rich in tannins and yet neither bitter nor astringent
  52. Sodium content reduction in food
  53. Research & Innovation 2014

The discrete role of ferulic acid in the assembly of lignified cell wall

The plant cell walls properties are dramatically affected by lignification. Exploring the highly variable structure, deposition mode and interaction capabilities of lignins in plant cell walls makes it possible to formulate methods for limiting the adverse effect of these aromatic polymers on biomass-to-biofuel conversion processes. In partnership with chemists (John Ralph, USDA, Madison, WI, USA) and molecular biologists (Lise Jouanin, Cellular Biology Unit, INRA Versailles, France), we studied cell wall lignins in normal plants and in plants affected in their lignification by focusing on the parameters involved in the interactions between lignins and polysaccharides.

Stère de rondins de bois.. © INRA, NICOLAS Bertrand
Updated on 06/17/2013
Published on 06/11/2013
Keywords:

The construction of lignified cells wall, a knowledge to improve

The results, published in the case of A. thaliana and poplar, were validated for other plants (gymnosperms and angiosperms). We established that ferulic acid plays a discreet but universal role in the construction of lignified cell walls. It is involved in lignin polymerisation in two ways:

  • When ferulic acid is ester-linked to polysaccharides, it serves as an initiation site for lignification.  This phenomenon has been well established for grass cell walls in which it was revealed by identifying the diagnostic bridge structures between lignins and polysaccharides.  We discovered that it is omnipresent, although much more discrete, by identifying these same linkage structures in the cell walls of dicotyledons and gymnosperms.  Ferulic esters in cell walls therefore constitute a universal means for forming covalent bonds between lignins and polysaccharides (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Mode d’arrimage universel des polysaccharides pariétaux aux lignines, via l’acide férulique.Dans le cas des parois de graminées, les polysaccharides impliqués sont les arabinoxylanes. Dans le cas d’autres parois, ils restent à identifier.. © INRA
Figure 1. Mode d’arrimage universel des polysaccharides pariétaux aux lignines, via l’acide férulique.Dans le cas des parois de graminées, les polysaccharides impliqués sont les arabinoxylanes. Dans le cas d’autres parois, ils restent à identifier. © INRA
Means of universally crosslinking cell wall polysaccharides to lignins using ferulic acid
Figure 1. Means of universally crosslinking cell wall polysaccharides to lignins using ferulic acid. In the case of grass cell walls, the polysaccharides involved are arabinoxylans.  In the case of other cell walls, they remain to be identified.

  • Free ferulic acid contributes to lignin polymerisation. Its incorporation generates a new branching structure. Native lignins are formed of linear fragments linked by branching points. Only two branching structures were previously known (biphenyl and biphenyl ether structures). The contribution of ferulic acid to lignification generates a third branching structure of the acetal type (Fig. 2). In plants deficient in cinnamyl-CoA reductase or cinnamyl alcool dehydrogenase activity, these branching structures are more abundant.  They constitute a weak link in the polymer because they can be easily degraded in a diluted acid environment.  

Figure 2. Nouvelle structure de branchement identifiée dans les lignines et issue de l’incorporation d’acide férulique libre. Cette structure de type acétal, plus abondante dans les parois de plantes affectées dans leur lignification, facilite la dépolymérisation des lignines au cours des pré-traitements indispensables pour convertir la cellulose en bioéthanol.. © INRA
Figure 2. Nouvelle structure de branchement identifiée dans les lignines et issue de l’incorporation d’acide férulique libre. Cette structure de type acétal, plus abondante dans les parois de plantes affectées dans leur lignification, facilite la dépolymérisation des lignines au cours des pré-traitements indispensables pour convertir la cellulose en bioéthanol. © INRA
Figure 2. New branching structure identified in lignins and resulting from the incorporation of free ferulic acid.  This acetal-type structure, more abundant in the cell walls of plants affected in their lignification, facilitates lignin depolymerisation during pretreatments essential to converting cellulose into bioethanol.

Towards the use of plant cell walss as a renewable industrial feedstock

These discoveries have led to two new ways of improving the saccharification ability of lignocellulose, in relation to the other research objectives of an INRA research programme about manipulating ferulic acid in the cell wall to improve our knowledge of the effect of lignin structure on biomass saccharification) and the European RENEWALL programme that aims at improving plant cell walls for use as a renewable industrial feedstock.

The increase of potential lignification primers (ferulic esters in the cell wall) could favor the dispersion of lignins in the cell walls as small and alkali-leachable lignin domains and thus reduce the barrier effect of these polymers in relation to cellulolysis, while improving their extractability. Emphasizing the incorporation of free ferulic acid into lignins will make it possible to improve the saccharification ability of lignocellulosics.  In fact, branching structures (acetal type) associated with this incorporation are easily degraded in a diluted acid environment. Their presence will therefore facilitate depolymerisation pretreatments of lignins before cellulolysis takes place.

A partnership between chemists and biologists

Lise Jouanin, Unité biologie cellulaire INRA Versailles

John Ralph, USDA Madison

Catherine Lapierre, UMR Chimie Biologique, AgroParisTech-Inra Grignon

See also

  • Mir Derikvand M, Sierra JB, Ruel K, Pollet B, Do C-T, Thevenin J, Buffard D, Jouanin L, Lapierre C (2008) Redirection of the phenylpropanoid pathway to feruloyl malate in Arabidopsis mutants deficient for cinnamoyl-CoA reductase 1. Planta 227: 943-56.
  • Ralph J, Kim H, Lu F, Grabber JH, Leple JC, Berrio-Sierra J, Derikvand MM, Jouanin L, Boerjan W, Lapierre C (2008) Identification of the structure and origin of a thioacidolysis marker compound for ferulic acid incorporation into angiosperm lignins. Plant J. 53: 368-379.