• oil palm;
  • Elaeis guineensis;
  • monocots;
  • cell walls;
  • lignin;
  • in-vitro digestibility


Trunk material from the oil palm Elaeis guineensis was dissected into parenchyma and vascular bundle fractions, which were individually examined by 13C solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance at low field (25 MHz). Cross-polarisation and magic-angle spinning were used with dipolar dephasing to reveal the aromatic carbons of lignin free from interference by carbohydrate. The lignin contents of the parenchyma and vascular bundles were found to be 240 g kg−1 and 130 g kg−1, respectively. The lignin appeared to contain a high proportion of aryl ether-linked syringyl units, but little or no ferulic or p-coumaric acid. The cellulose of both fractions had a high proportion of the crystalline component. The acetyl content was c 6 mol %C. The in-vitro digestibility of the two fractions was measured using the rumen liquor-pepsin method and was found to be low compared with forage materials: 19.5% in the parenchyma and only 11.1% in the vascular bundles.