Letter | Published:

Molecular Size Distribution of Lignin in Wood

Naturevolume 214pages410411 (1967) | Download Citation



THE macromolecular structure of lignin in wood is an important object of current controversy. Some workers consider lignin to be a chemically homogeneous, three-dimensional polymer whose molecular size is “infinite”, that is, limited only by the amount present. Others believe that lignin is a finite heteropolymer whose individual molecules differ in molecular size and chemical structure according to their location within wood cell walls. The ability to distinguish between these alternatives requires that lignin be isolated nearly quantitatively from morphologically distinct regions within wood cell walls without significant alteration.

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  1. 1

    Cowling, E. B., in Cellular Ultrastructure of Woody Plants (edit. by Cote, W. A.), 341 (Syracuse Univ. Press, 1965).

  2. 2

    Nord, F. F., Sci. Amer., 199, 104 (1958).

  3. 3

    Cowling, E. B., U.S. Dept. Agric. Tech. Bull., No. 1258, 78 (1961).

  4. 4

    Wilcox, W. W., Forest Products, 15, 255 (1965).

  5. 5

    Meier, H., Holz alh Roh- und Werkstoff, 13, 323 (1955).

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    • W. BROWN

    Present address: School of Forestry, North Carolina State University at Raleigh, Raleigh, North Carolina


  1. Research Laboratory, West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, Charleston, South Carolina

    • W. BROWN
    •  & S. I. FALKEHAG
  2. Department of Plant Pathology and School of Forestry, North Carolina State University at Raleigh, Raleigh, North Carolina

    • E. B. COWLING


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