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Protein power for Jack and the beanstalk
Date:5/17/2010

s system of work in harmony to manipulate the composition and vascular tissues of plant cell walls. The researchers found specifically that ICR1 can be manipulated and, as a consequence, influence auxin distribution in plants. Plant scientists now have a tool that allows breeders to grow certain plant organs of choice, with the possibility of manipulating plant cell wall composition the kinds of tissues needed in making biofuel.

In the PLoS Biology report published recently, the researchers spell out the links between the mechanisms that regulate cell structure and the development of the whole plant. The ICR1, they explain, influences the way the hormone auxin moves around the plant.

Breaking down the walls

Plant tissue is made of cells engulfed in a tough cell wall that helps it retain shape and rigidity. It's composed of cellulose, a polysaccharide, and lignin, which is the woody material in a plant. Current methods for removing the unwanted lignin in the cell wall ― which must be removed to produce biofuel ― amounts to about a 50% loss cellulosic material which could be used for biofuel.

Ideally crop growers want to maximize the amount of cellulose in the plant, which can be broken down to make sugar for ethanol. The new system found in proteins and developed at Tel Aviv University has the potential to increase crop yield and make fuel production more cost-effective. His approach could mean less lignin, more cellulose and ultimately more biofuel, says Prof. Yalovsky.


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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

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