Biochemical Analysis of Fossil and Living Plants

Logan, Karen Jane. 1982. Biochemical Analysis of Fossil and Living Plants. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Lignin oxidation products from a variety of living and fossil plants were obtained using the alkaline cupric oxide method. The aldehydes and ketones obtained were separated by gas chromatography and gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy was used to verify the structures of the lignin oxidation products.

Vanillin remained the major ligning oxidation product obtained from the lignin of gymnosperms. However small amounts of p-hydroxybenzaldehyde and syringic aldehyde were obtained from all the symnospermous ligning examined. Immature dicotyledons and the woodmeal of the monocotyledons examined gave varying emounts of p-hydroxybenzaldehyde when oxidized. No phydoxybenzaldehyde was detected from the lignin of the monoxotyledon fibres examined. Syringic aldehyde remained the major lignin oxidation product obtained from the angiosperms.

All three types of lignin nuclei were obtained in small amounts from several lower plants including the mosses and liverworts.
No correlation between the presence of syringic aldehyde and the occurrence of vessels was found. The suggestion that it is the fibres in plants which contribute to the presence of syringic aldehyde is made.

All three types of lignin nuclei were observed from certain fossil wood, fossil compressions and coals. Syringic aldehyde remained as a lignin oxidation product in bituminous coals of 3OO million years old.

Lignin derivatives can be used as supporting evidence for anatomical and morphological studies. However lignin derivatives cannot be used as characteristics for fossil compressions and coals because chemical changes which occur alter the original phenolic aldehyde ratios. Only speculations can be made.

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Thesis (Doctoral)

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Date Deposited:

29 May 2020 14:32

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 12:29


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