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International Journal of the Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Technology of Wood

Editor-in-Chief: Faix, Oskar

Editorial Board Member: Daniel, Geoffrey / Militz, Holger / Rosenau, Thomas / Salmen, Lennart / Sixta, Herbert / Vuorinen, Tapani / Argyropoulos, Dimitris S. / Balakshin, Yu / Barnett, J. R. / Berry, Richard / Burgert, Ingo / Evans, Robert / Evtuguin, Dmitry V. / Frazier, Charles E. / Fukushima, Kazuhiko / Gellerstedt, Göran / Gindl-Altmutter, Wolfgang / Glasser, W. G. / Heitner, Cyril / Holmbom, Bjarne / Isogai, Akira / Kadla, John F. / Kleen, Marjatta / Koch, Gerald / Lachenal, Dominique / Mansfield, Shawn D. / Morrell, J.J. / Niemz, Peter / Pizzi, Antonio / Ragauskas, Arthur J. / Ralph, John / Rice, Robert W. / Salin, Jarl-Gunnar / Schmitt, Uwe / Schultz, Tor P. / Sipilä, Jussi / Tamminen, Tarja / Viikari, Liisa / Welling, Johannes / Willför, Stefan / Yoshihara, Hiroshi

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Erythro/threo ratio of β-O-4-5 structures as an important structural characteristic of lignin. Part 4: Variation in the erythro/threo ratio in softwood and hardwood lignins and its relation to syringyl/guaiacyl ratio

Takuya Akiyama1 / Hitoshi Goto2 / Deded S. Nawawi3 / Wasrin Syafii4 / Yuji Matsumoto5 / Gyosuke Meshitsuka6







Corresponding author. Wood Chemistry Laboratory, Department of Biomaterial Science, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo Ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan Fax: +81-3-5802-8862 E-mail:

Citation Information: Holzforschung. Volume 59, Issue 3, Pages 276–281, ISSN (Online) 1437-434X, ISSN (Print) 0018-3830, DOI: 10.1515/HF.2005.045, July 2005

Publication History

June 2, 2003
November 16, 2004
Published Online:


The proportion of erythro- and threo-forms of β-O-4-structures in lignin was elucidated by ozonation analysis of 21 wood species, and the relationship to the syringyl and guaiacyl composition was investigated. For all hardwood species, the erythro-form of β-O-4-structures predominated, although the extent varied widely, depending on wood species. In contrast, the proportion and amount of erythro- and threo-forms were very similar in all softwood species. The proportion of the erythro-form was greater in species with a higher methoxyl content in the lignin (correlation coefficient, R2=0.83). The S/V ratio (molar ratio of syringaldehyde and syringic acid to that of vanillin and vanillic acid) obtained by nitrobenzene oxidation was also strongly correlated with the proportion of the erythro-form (R2=0.99). Accordingly, the syringyl/guaiacyl ratio is closely related to the erythro/threo ratio. This stereochemical characteristic of β-O-4-structures is discussed in relation to the process of lignin formation.

Keywords: β-O-4 structure; erythro/threo ratio; hardwood; Klason lignin; lignin; methoxyl; nitrobenzene oxidation; ozonation; softwood; stereochemistry; syringyl/guaiacyl ratio

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