Structural features of macromolecular components of cork from Quercus suber L.

Diana G. Branco 1 , Joana R. Campos 1 , Luís Cabrita 2  and Dmitry V. Evtuguin 1
  • 1 CICECO/Department of Chemistry, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
  • 2 Amorim & Irmãos S.A., Rua dos Corticeiros 850, 4536-904 Santa Maria de Lamas, Portugal
Diana G. Branco, Joana R. Campos, Luís Cabrita
  • Amorim & Irmãos S.A., Rua dos Corticeiros 850, 4536-904 Santa Maria de Lamas, Portugal
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and Dmitry V. Evtuguin

Abstract

The structural features of macromolecular components of cork (suberin, lignin, cellulose and hemicelluloses) from Quercus suber L. used for the production of stoppers were assessed after their isolation and purification. Suberin is the major component of cork (ca. 44%) and is constituted mainly by hydroxy fatty acids (C14–C26). Cork lignin was found to be highly condensed (16.2%) and revealed a syringyl:guaiacyl:p-hydroxyphenyl (S:G:H) ratio of 26:71:3 with predominant β-O-4′ (0.38%), β-5′, β-β and tetrahydrofuran (THF) type (totally ca. 27%) structures. Cork lignin also has a remarkable amount of ferulic acid structures, which are considered the binding point between lignin and suberin. The cellulose of cork cells (17.2%) is a typical cellulose I polymorph with a degree of crystallinity (DC) of 70.3% and an average crystallite width of 3.5 nm. The major hemicellulose of cork is glucuronoxylan (near 6.0%) possessing a molar Xylp:MeGlcpA ratio of 14:1.

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Holzforschung is an international scholarly journal that publishes cutting-edge research on the biology, chemistry, physics and technology of wood and wood components. High quality papers about biotechnology and tree genetics are also welcome. Rated year after year as one of the top scientific journals in the category of Pulp and Paper (ISI Journal Citation Index), Holzforschung represents innovative, high quality basic and applied research.

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