Cell Wall Characteristics of a Maize Mutant Selected for Decreased Ferulates

Ronald D. Hatfield, Hans Jung, Jane M. Marita, Hoon Kim
2018 American Journal of Plant Sciences  
The cross-linked nature of plant cell walls provides structural integrity for continued growth and development, but limits degradation and utilization by ruminants. In grasses a major cross-linking component is ferulic acid that is incorporated into cell walls as an ester linked residue on arabinoxylans. Ferulates can become coupled to each other and to lignin forming a highly cross-linked matrix of carbohydrates and lignin. Seedling ferulate ester mutants (sfe) were produced in maize using the
more » ... transposon system and evaluated in feeding trials. The work described here was undertaken to characterize changes in the ferulate cross-linked nature as well as other components of the corn cell wall matrix in leaf, sheath and stem tissues. Total ferulates decreased modestly due to the mutation and were more apparent in leaf tissue (16% -18%) compared to sheath (+5 to −6% change) and stem (8% -9% decrease). The most significant changes were in the ether linked ferulates to lignin, both monomer and dehydrodiferulates (14% to 38% decrease). Other characteristics of the cell wall (lignin, neutral sugar composition) also showed modest changes. The change in total ferulates was modest, but led to improved animal performance. These findings suggest that relatively small changes can have a significant impact upon how well plant materials can be broken down and utilized by ruminants such as dairy cows.
doi:10.4236/ajps.2018.93034 fatcat:jrz2z6thgndoleg7vvio4ruee4