Journal of agricultural and food chemistry

Peroxidase-catalyzed oligomerization of ferulic acid esters.

PMID 18841901


Valuable information about possible types of linkages, reaction mechanisms, and sequences for oxidative coupling of phenolic compounds in planta is available from in vitro model systems. Ferulate oligomers were generated in a system using ethyl ferulate, peroxidase, and hydrogen peroxide under various conditions. A molar ferulate/H2O2 ratio of 1:1, an ethanol level of 30% in an aqueous sodium phosphate buffer (pH 6.0), and a reaction time of 10 min were considered to be ideal to produce maximal proportions of ferulate trimers and tetramers from ethyl ferulate as starting material. The dominant trimer and tetramer were each isolated from the reaction mixture and identified as 8-O-4/8-5(cyclic)-dehydrotriferulic acid triethyl ester and 8-5(cyclic)/4-O-5/8-5(cyclic)-dehydrotetraferulic acid tetraethyl ester. The structure of the 8-O-4/8-5(cyclic)-dehydrotriferulic acid triethyl ester revealed that a third ferulate unit is bound to a preformed 8-O-4-diferulate dimer, a surprising reaction sequence considering the dominance of 8-5-coupled dimers among dehydrodiferulates in H2O2/peroxidase-based model reactions. As 4-O-5-coupling is not favored in the dimerization process of ferulates, the main tetramer isolated in this study is probably formed by 4-O-5-coupling of two preformed 8-5(cyclic)-diferulates, a logical step in analogy with reactions occurring in lignin biosynthesis.

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