Elucidating Covalent Bond Formation and Cleavage in Wood
Understanding the chemical changes of lignocellulosic wood polymers subjected to different chemical and biological processes is difficult. The common practice of isolating cell wall components for individual analyses is time consuming and can alter the original structure of lignocellulosic polymers in wood. Working with a group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison biochemistry department, FPL researchers have elucidated mechanistic details relating to some long-standing theories of wood adhesion and brown-rot fungal decay. First, solution-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) of dissolved wood cell walls has been applied to delineate reactions between an isocyanate adhesive and wood, showing that covalent bonds between wood and adhesives are not important for bond durability. Second, NMR of dissolved brown-rotted wood revealed marked bond cleavage of O4-linked lignin sidechains, thus significantly altering the original lignin polymer in wood. Other applications of this technology will include investigating the structure of lignocellulosics found in reaction wood and juvenile wood, exploring the chemistry of biomass during bioconversion processes, and how white rot decay fungi degrade lignocellulosics in wood.
Forest Service Partners