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31P NMR Characterization of Tricin and Its Structurally Similar Flavonoids

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Tricin, a flavonoid metabolite, has been recently identified as a component of lignin in select monocot plants. This finding has initiated consideration on updating the lignin biosynthesis pathway. We here report a rapid method of determination of tricin in corn stover lignin, based on 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy by phosphitylating with 2-chloro-4,4,5,5-tetramethyl-1,3,2-dioxaphospholane (TMDP). Nine other flavonoids, with similar structure to tricin, have also been examined using the current method. The application of 31P NMR enables rapid identification of tricin-like flavonoids in the heterogeneous lignin polymer. The well resolved spectroscopic peaks from these derivatized flavonoids and lignin functional groups provide important information for the determination of flavonoids individually or their association with lignin.