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Chemical Biomarkers in Aquatic Ecosystems$
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Thomas S. Bianchi and Elizabeth A. Canuel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691134147

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691134147.001.0001

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Lignins, Cutins, and Suberins

Lignins, Cutins, and Suberins

(p.248) 13. Lignins, Cutins, and Suberins
Chemical Biomarkers in Aquatic Ecosystems

Thomas S. Bianchi

Elizabeth A. Canuel

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines lignin, which has proven to be a useful chemical biomarker for tracing vascular-plant inputs to aquatic systems. Cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin generally make up >75% of the biomass of woody plant materials. Lignins are a group of macromolecular heteropolymers found in the cell wall of vascular plants that are made up of phenylpropanoid units. The shikimic acid pathway, which is common in plants, bacteria, and fungi, is the pathway for synthesis of aromatic amino acids (e.g., tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine), thereby providing the parent compounds for the synthesis of the phenylpropanoid units in lignins. The chapter also examines cutins and suberins, which are lipid polymers in vascular plant tissues and serve as a protective layer (cuticle) and as cell wall components of cork cells, respectively. It describes how cutins have been shown to be an effective biomarker for vascular plants in aquatic systems.

Keywords:   lignin, biomarkers, cutins, subserins, vascular plants, aquatic systems, biomass, macromolecular heteropolymers

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