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January 2009 - March 2010

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences
Institute of Technology
Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering

PI: Simo Sarkanen

Macromolecular Lignin Replication

Lignin, the second most abundant biopolymer after cellulose, contributes prominently to cell-wall architecture in all vascular plants and trees. The configuration of macromolecular lignin chains is determined by the sequences of inter-unit linkages between the monomer residues. This project investigates the possibility that lignin primary structure is preserved by a direct template polymerization mechanism during biosynthesis. The researchers have hypothesized that the lignin template is an antiparallel double-stranded complex that is maintained in a dynamical state at the advancing front of the lignifying domain. They have been using density functional theory to explore the ramifications of this hypothesis.

Group Member

Yi-ru Chen, Research Associate