Navigation Links
Engineering plants for biofuels
Date:11/26/2012

With increasing demands for sustainable energy, being able to cost-efficiently produce biofuels from plant biomass is more important than ever. However, lignin and hemicelluloses present in certain plants mean that they cannot be easily converted into biofuels. A study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Biotechnology for Biofuels appears to have solved this problem, using gene manipulation techniques to engineer plants that can be more easily broken down into biofuels.

Plants high in lignin and hemicelluloses lignocellulosic biomass have a high content of pentose sugars that are more difficult to ferment into fuels than plants with hexose sugars. In order to be useful for biofuel production, scientists need to be able to engineer plants with smaller amounts of xylan the major non-cellulosic polysaccharide present in secondary cell walls.

With this in mind, a research group from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA, used 3 mutant strains of Arabidopsis deficient in xylan irregular xylem (irx) mutants irx7, irx8 and irx9 in order to engineer plants with low xylan content and improved properties for easier breakdown of carbohydrate into simple sugars (saccharification). The irx mutants normally exhibit severe dwarf phenotypes that result from xylem vessel collapse and consequent impaired transport of water and nutrients. The team hypothesized that restoring xylan biosynthesis in the plants would complement the mutations.

To reintroduce xylan biosynthesis into the xylem of irx7, 8 and 9, Henrik Scheller and colleagues manipulated the promoter regions of vessel-specific VND6 and VND7 transcription factor genes. Significantly, they found that the ensuing phenotypes completely restored wild-type growth patterns in some cases, resulting in stronger plants with restored mechanical properties, whilst at the same time maintaining a low overall xylan content and improved saccharification properties that allowed for better breakdown into biofuels.

Plants with up to 23% reduction in xylose levels and 18% reduction in lignin content were obtained, whilst normal xylem function was restored. The plants also showed a 42% increase in saccharification yield after pretreatment.

Lead author Scheller said, "These results show that it is possible to obtain plants that have reduced amounts of xylan in their walls while still preserving the structural integrity of the xylem vessels. The xylan engineering system we present here is a great step towards tailored bioenergy crops that can be easily converted into biofuels. He continued, "This approach in Arabidopsis has the potential to be transferred to other biofuel crop species in the near future, in particular, the poplar species."

These results from this study provide hope that a viable alternative to fossil fuels may soon be available.


'/>"/>

Contact: Hilary Glover
hilary.glover@biomedcentral.com
44-020-319-22370
BioMed Central
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology technology :

1. Superior Controls of Seabrook, NH Named System Integrator of the Year for 2012 by Control Engineering Magazine
2. U.S. Tissue Engineering Markets
3. Smart, self-healing hydrogels open far-reaching possibilities in medicine, engineering
4. Global Genetic Engineering Industry
5. X-BODY BioSciences to Present Novel Methods of Selecting for Antibodies Against Targets on Live Cells at CHIs Protein Engineering Summit
6. Trinity College Dublins Neuroscience and Bioengineering Programmes Receive Postgraduate Course of the Year Awards
7. Reverse engineering epilepsys miracle diet
8. Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, LLC Announces Investigation of American Oriental Bioengineering Inc.
9. Two Blades Foundation licenses genome engineering technology to KWS
10. Three Hertz Foundation Fellows Receive Presidential Honors; Leaders in Applied Physical, Biological and Engineering Sciences
11. New UCLA Engineering research center to revolutionize nanoscale electromagnetic devices
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Engineering plants for biofuels
(Date:4/29/2016)... ALBANY, New York , April 29, 2016 ... market report published by Transparency Market Research "Separation ... Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2015 ... market was valued at US$ 10,665.5 Mn in ... CAGR of 6.8% from 2015 to 2023 to ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Intelligent Implant Systems announced today that the two-level components for ... the United States. These components expand the capabilities of the system and allow ... in October of 2015, the company has seen significant sales growth in 1Q 2016, ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... 28, 2016 Q BioMed ... Company,s CEO  was featured in an article he ... VCs Fear To Tread: http://www.lifescienceleader.com/doc/accelerators-enter-when-vcs-fear-to-tread-0001 ... is an essential business journal for life ... biotechs to Big Pharmas. Their content is designed ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... NY (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2016 , ... ... has made significant investments in recruiting top industry experts, and expanding its LATAM ... which provides industry-leading tools for clients to manage their clinical trial projects. , ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/10/2016)... BLUE BELL, Pa. , March 10, 2016   ... U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is testing ... in San Diego to help identify ... United States . The test, designed to help determine ... outdoor, pedestrian environment, began in February and will run until ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... 2016 Nigeria . ... than 23,000 public service employees either did not exist ... salary unlawfully.    --> Nigeria ... more than 23,000 public service employees either did not ... their salary unlawfully.    --> DERMALOG, the ...
(Date:3/8/2016)... N.C. , March 8, 2016   ... sensor technology, today announced it has secured $11M ... by GII Tech, a new venture fund being ... with additional participation from existing investors TDF Ventures ... the funds to continue its triple-digit growth and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):