Ferulic acid (FA) cross-links have been implicated in the thermal stability of texture in Chinese water chestnut (CWC) tissues. The aim of the current study has been to investigate this concept further. CWC tissue strips were measured for their mechanical properties before and after extraction in increasing strengths of alkali. The mechanical properties were related to the associated mode of fracture (cell separation or breakage) at the fracture surfaces and the phenolic composition of the cell walls. CWC tissue softened after prolonged extraction in cold alkali due to an increase in the ease of cell separation. Analysis of wall-bound phenolics demonstrated that most FA moieties, including five of the six dehydrodimers, were released before tissue strength was reduced. Loss of strength was, however, coincident with the loss of 8,8'-diferulic acid, aryltetralin (AT) form. It has been suggested that this dehydrodimer may be particularly concentrated at the edge of the cell faces. These results provide further evidence for the involvement of this dehydrodimer in conferring thermal stability of cell-cell adhesion and hence texture in CWC. However, they do not exclude the other diferulates from involvement in cell adhesion.