Enzymatic dehydrogenative polymerization of urushiols in fresh exudates from the lacquer tree, Rhus vernicifera DC.

Research paper by Sayoko S Harigaya, Takayuki T Honda, Lu L Rong, Tetsuo T Miyakoshi, Chen-Loung CL Chen

Indexed on: 27 Feb '07Published on: 27 Feb '07Published in: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry


Fresh exudates from the lacquer tree, Rhus vernicifera DC, were extracted with acetone and the solution was chromatographed to isolate monomer, dimer, trimer, and oligomer fractions of urushiols. Constituents of the monomeric and dimeric fractions were then identified by two-dimensional (2D) 1H-13C heteronuclear multiple quantum coherence (HMQC) and heteronuclear multiple bond coherence (HMBC) NMR spectroscopic techniques. The results showed that the monomeric fraction contained 3-[8'Z,11'E,13'Z-pentadecatrienyl]catechol (1), 3-[8'Z,11'Z,14'-pentadecatrienyl]catechol (2), and 3-pentadecanyl]catechol (3), which was verified by HPLC analysis. The dimeric fraction contained 8'-(3' ',4' '-dihydroxy-5' '-alkenyl)phenyl-3-[9'E,11'E,13'Z-pentadecatrienyl]catechol (4), 14'-(3' ',4' '-dihydroxy-5' '-alkenyl)phenyl-3-[8'Z,10'E,12'E-pentadecatrienyl]catechol (5), 2-hydroxyl-3- or -6-alkenylphenyl ethyl ether (6), 14'-(3' ',4' '-dihydroxy-2' '-alkenyl)phenyl-3-[8'Z,10'E,12'E-pentadeca-trienyl]catechol (7), 15'-(2' '-hydroxy-3' '- or -6' '-alkenyl)phenyloxy-3-[8'Z,11'Z,13'E)-pentadecatrienyl]catechol (8), 14'-(2' ',3' '-dihydroxy-4' '-alkenyl)phenyl-3-[8'Z,10'E,12'E-pentadecantrienyl]catechol (9), 1,1',2,2'-tetrahydroxy-6,6'-dialkenyl-4,3'-biphenyl (10), 1,1',2,2'-tetrahydroxy-6,6'-dialkenyl-4,4'-biphenyl (11), 1,1',2,2'-tetrahydroxy-6,6'-dialkenyl-5,4'-biphenyl (12), and 1,2,1'-trihydroxy-6,6'-dialkenyldibenzofuran (13) as constituents. In addition, dimeric ethers and peroxides, such as compounds 14 and 15, were produced by autoxidation of monomeric urushiols in atmospheric air. The possible reaction mechanisms for the dehydrogenative polymerization of urushiols by Rhus laccase present in the fresh raw exudates under the atmospheric oxygen are discussed on the basis of structures identified. This is of primary importance because the use of the urushi exudates as coating materials does not involve organic solvents and is an environmentally friendly process.