Researchers create fast-growing trees for fuel
Researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered that manipulation of a specific gene in a hardwood tree species not only makes it easier to break down the wood into fuel, but also significantly increases tree growth.
In a paper published recently in Biotechnology for Biofuels, the researchers describe how decreasing the expression of a gene called GAUT12.1 leads to a reduction in xylan and pectin, two major components of plant cell walls that make them resistant to the enzymes and chemicals used to extract the fermentable sugars used to create biofuels.
"This research gives us important clues about the genes that control plant structures and how we can manipulate them to our advantage," said study co-author Debra Mohnen, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "The difficulty of breaking down the complicated plant cell wall is a major obstacle to the cost-effective production of biofuels, and this discovery may pave the way for new techniques that make that process more economically viable."
Click here for source (Phys.org)
Photo: Paul Efland/UGA