Monolignols are phytochemicals acting as source materials for biosynthesis of both lignans and lignin. The starting material for production of monolignols is the amino acid phenylalanine. The first reactions in the biosynthesis are shared with the phenylpropanoid pathway, and monolignols are considered to be a part of this group of compounds. Three monolignols predominate: coniferyl alcohol, sinapyl alcohol, and paracoumaryl alcohol. The ratio of these components varies with plant species. For example, Norway spruce lignin is almost entirely coniferyl alcohol, whereas paracoumaryl alcohol is found almost exclusively in grasses.
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