Solution-state 2D NMR of ball-milled plant cell wall gels in DMSO-d(6)/pyridine-d(5)

Org Biomol Chem. 2010 Feb 7;8(3):576-91. doi: 10.1039/b916070a. Epub 2009 Dec 3.


NMR fingerprinting of the components of finely divided plant cell walls swelled in DMSO has been recently described. Cell wall gels, produced directly in the NMR tube with perdeutero-dimethylsulfoxide, allowed the acquisition of well resolved/dispersed 2D (13)C-(1)H correlated solution-state NMR spectra of the entire array of wall polymers, without the need for component fractionation. That is, without actual solubilization, and without apparent structural modification beyond that inflicted by the ball milling and ultrasonication steps, satisfactorily interpretable spectra can be acquired that reveal compositional and structural details regarding the polysaccharide and lignin components in the wall. Here, the profiling method has been improved by using a mixture of perdeuterated DMSO and pyridine (4 : 1, v/v). Adding pyridine provided not only easier sample handling because of the better mobility compared to the DMSO-d(6)-only system but also considerably elevated intensities and improved resolution of the NMR spectra due to the enhanced swelling of the cell walls. This modification therefore provides a more rapid method for comparative structural evaluation of plant cell walls than is currently available. We examined loblolly pine (Pinus taeda, a gymnosperm), aspen (Populus tremuloides, an angiosperm), kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus, an herbaceous plant), and corn (Zea mays L., a grass, i.e., from the Poaceae family). In principle, lignin composition (notably, the syringyl : guaiacyl : p-hydroxyphenyl ratio) can be quantified without the need for lignin isolation. Correlations for p-coumarate units in the corn sample are readily seen, and a variety of the ferulate correlations are also well resolved; ferulates are important components responsible for cell wall cross-linking in grasses. Polysaccharide anomeric correlations were tentatively assigned for each plant sample based on standard samples and various literature data. With the new potential for chemometric analysis using the 2D NMR fingerprint, this gel-state method may provide the basis for an attractive approach to providing a secondary screen for selecting biomass lines and for optimizing biomass processing and conversion efficiencies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Analytic Sample Preparation Methods / methods*
  • Cell Wall / chemistry*
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / chemistry*
  • Gels
  • Lignin / chemistry
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Plants / chemistry*
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Pyridines / chemistry*
  • Solutions
  • Solvents / chemistry


  • Gels
  • Polysaccharides
  • Pyridines
  • Solutions
  • Solvents
  • hemicellulose
  • Lignin
  • pyridine
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide