What Is Wood?

Wood is built from three major components, which are physically mixed and chemically bonded together:

The polymerization that forms lignin is initiated by enzymes

An organism that proposes to make a living eating wood must be able to digest at least one of these three components.

Needlesss to say, humans are not such an organism. However, cows and some other mammals, termites, fungi, and bacteria have learned to do this - cows and termites with the aid of intestinal bacteria.

We shall take a look here at some of the enzymes that have evolved to degrade cellulose, hemicellluloses, and lignin.


This page last modified 10:50 AM on Thursday April 3rd, 2014.
Webmaster, Department of Chemistry, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469