Lignin is complex organic polymers of propyl phenol units, namely, coniferyl alcohol and sinapyl alcohol, with a minor quantity of p-coumaryl alcohol , The complex of these components is cross-linked together through carbon–carbon, ester, and ether linkages.
Lignins are particularly important in the formation of cell walls, especially in wood and bark, because they lend rigidity and do not rot easily. As a renewable raw material, lignin has the potential to extend to any product currently sourced from petrochemical substances.
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Lignin fills the spaces in the cell wall between cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin components, especially in vascular and support tissues: xylem tracheids, vessel elements and sclereid cells. It is covalently linked to hemicellulose and therefore cross-links different plant polysaccharides, conferring mechanical strength to the cell wall and by extension the plant as a whole.It is particularly abundant in compression wood but scarce in tension wood, which are types of reaction wood.
Lignin plays a crucial part in conducting water in plant stems. The polysaccharide components of plant cell walls are highly hydrophilic and thus permeable to water, whereas lignin is more hydrophobic. The crosslinking of polysaccharides by lignin is an obstacle for water absorption to the cell wall. Thus, lignin makes it possible for the plant’s vascular tissue to conduct water efficiently. Lignin is present in all vascular plants, but not in bryophytes, supporting the idea that the original function of lignin was restricted to water transport. However, it is present in red algae, which seems to suggest that the common ancestor of plants and red algae also synthesised lignin. This would suggest that its original function was structural; it plays this role in the red alga Calliarthron, where it supports joints between calcified segments.Another possibility is that the lignins in red algae and in plants are a result of convergent evolution and not of a common orig
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