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:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... Avomeen Analytical ... recipients of its 2017 Science Student Award. The scholarship program is dedicated to ... community service defray the costs of obtaining their science education. , Avomeen began ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... September 19, ... ... York State Department of Financial Services (NYS DFS) cybersecurity regulations have ... banking, finance and insurance organizations operating in the state (“Covered Entities”) to ...
(Date:9/18/2017)... ... September 18, 2017 , ... Transportable biomass conversion ... and torrefied wood is the topic of a September 27 webinar ... economic viability of transportable biomass conversion facilities for producing biochar, briquettes, and torrefied ...
(Date:9/18/2017)... , a growing leader in Electronic Trial Master file solutions ... research organization, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). ... MAPS Public Benefit Corporation selects ... ... for the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). MAPS also reached ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/30/2017)... -- On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will host the world,s ... at Microsoft,s headquarters in Redmond, Washington ... health and wellness apps that provide a unique, personalized ... is the first hackathon for personal genomics and the ... the genomics, tech and health industries are sending teams ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... -- The report "Video Surveillance Market by ... Devices), Software (Video Analytics, VMS), and Service (VSaaS, Installation ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market was valued at ... reach USD 75.64 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR ... considered for the study is 2016 and the forecast ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based and Touchless), ... published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD 18.98 billion ... Continue Reading ... ...      (Logo: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):