Topochemical detection of lignin and phenolic compounds was carried out at subcellular level in tension wood fibres of maple (Acer spp.), beech (Fagus sylvatica) and oak (Quercus robur) by means of cellular UV-microspectrophotometry (UMSP) and confocal Raman microscopy. UMSP field scans at 278 nm revealed the presence of aromatic compounds in the gelatinous layer (G-layer) in tension wood of all three species. Characterisation of the detected substances by point measurements from 240 nm to 400 nm revealed a plausible relationship to by-products from the lignin biosynthesis pathway. Raman spectra, recorded from different regions within the G-layer, showed a high affinity to spectra of lignins. The degree of aromatic compounds in the G-layer of oak tension wood fibres was approximately three-fold higher than that in maple and beech. Moreover, the oak G-layer showed an accumulation of aromatic compounds towards the cell lumen up to 50% higher than that detected in the secondary cell wall. UMSP and Raman microscopy are considered valuable complementary methods for topochemical investigation on a subcellular level.
©2008 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York