Abstract Validamycin A was used to inhibit in vivo trehalase activity in tobacco enabling the study of subsequent changes in new C partitioning into cellulosic biomass and lignin precursors. After 12-h exposure to treatment, plants were pulse labeled using radioactive 11CO 2, and the partitioning of isotope was traced into [ 11C]cellulose and [ 11C]hemicellulose, as well as into [ 11C]phenylalanine, the precursor for lignin. Over this time course of treatment, new carbon partitioning into hemicellulose and cellulose was increased, while new carbon partitioning into phenylalanine was decreased. This trend was accompanied by a decrease in phenylalanine ammonia-lyase activity. After 4 d of exposure to validamycin A, we also measured leaf protein content and key C and N metabolite pools. Extended treatment increased foliar cellulose and starch content, decreased sucrose, and total amino acid and nitrate content, and had no effect on total protein.