Seedlings of Eucalyptus viminalis were grown for 50 days with their stems bent so tension wood would form. Every 10 days the lignin content, monomeric composition, and peroxidase activity in the tension wood were compared with those in the lower side (opposite wood) and in vertically grown controls. The lignin content in the developing tension wood started to decrease after 10 days of bending and kept decreasing for 50 days, whereas those in control plants and opposite wood remained almost unchanged. The yields of syringaldehyde from tension wood by nitrobenzene oxidation increased, and consequently the syringyl/ guaiacyl ratio of the lignin was higher in tension wood than in opposite wood and control plants. The peroxidase ionically bound to the cell walls (IPO) catalyzed oxidation of guaiacol and syringaldazine. The syringaldazine- oxidizing activity of IPO from tension wood increased, whereas the activities of IPO from opposite wood and control plants did not show any marked change. In tension wood the increase in syringaldazine-oxidizing activity of IPO was consistent with an increase in the syringaldehyde yield. This suggests that IPO contributes to syringyl lignin deposition as other enzymes involved in the monolignol biosynthesis do in tension wood formation.
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