Provided are methods for decreasing carbon flow into lignin in plants, comprising reducing or eliminating, using mutagenesis and/or recombinant means, expression and/or activity of at least one chloroplast-localized arogenate dehydratase (ADT) sufficient to reduce phenylalanine (Phe) availability for metabolism into Phe-derived phenylpropanoids, wherein the amount, level or distribution of lignin is reduced relative to control plants. In particular aspects, the plant has a plurality of chloroplast-localized ADTs, and reducing or eliminating comprises reducing or eliminating expression and/or activity of at least two of the plurality of ADTs. Also provided are recombinant plants or parts or cells thereof, comprising at least one mutation, genetic alteration or transgene that reduces or eliminates the expression and/or activity of at least one chloroplast-localized ADT, wherein the amount, level or distribution of lignin is reduced relative to normal. Further provided are reduced lignin plant products.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY-SPONSORED RESEARCH
 This work was supported at least in part by grants from the Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences Division, Office of Basic Energy Sciences (DE-FG-0397ER20259), Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy, from the BioEnergy Science Center, the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Center supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in the DOE Office of Science, from the United States Department of Agriculture (Agricultural Plant Biochemistry #2006-03339), and the U.S. government has certain rights in the invention.