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Generation and alteration of norlignans in a transition zone during the drying of a Cryptomeria japonica log

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Sugi (Cryptomeria japonica D. Don) produces secondary metabolite norlignans in xylem. Several norlignans are involved in the coloration of heartwood and defense of sapwood against microbial invasion. Their biosynthetic process should be well understood so that their properties can be exploited to improve the quality and utility of C. japonica wood. Unfortunately, information on the norlignan biosynthesis is limited because norlignans are mainly synthesized in a particular season in the transition zone (TZ) along with the heartwood formation, and is difficult to study. Although the generation of two norlignans of C. japonica, agatharesinol and (E)-hinokiresinol, has been reported, systems for producing other norlignans are not yet known. To establish a novel norlignan generating system, we examined the changes occurring in norlignans in a TZ during the process of drying a C. japonica log. On the day of felling, the TZ contained agatharesinol and (E)-hinokiresinol, which increased until they reached a maximum on day 40 after felling. Sequirin-C appeared on day 40 and increased to day 70. The generation of sequirin-C in the TZ can be used to investigate the biosynthetic process of heartwood norlignans. This study describes for the first time the changes that occur in the composition of norlignan during the drying of the TZ.


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Correspondence to Kazumasa Yoshida.

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Yoshida, K., Nishiguchi, M., Hishiyama, S. et al. Generation and alteration of norlignans in a transition zone during the drying of a Cryptomeria japonica log. J Wood Sci 52, 372–375 (2006) doi:10.1007/s10086-005-0777-9

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Key words

  • Norlignan
  • Transition zone
  • Drying
  • Cryptomeria japonica
  • Sugi