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Research on the Increase of Plant Biomass

keywords_en.jpgPlant, Gene, Genetic Modification, Cell Wall 

division_en.jpg Graduate School of Advanced Sciences of Matter Department of Molecular Biotechnology

position_en.jpgAssociate Professor

Outline

Background

There is really a call for genetic modified plants which have a high activity of carbon dioxide fixation and increased biomass in a low-carbon society.

Research Summary

Although secondary cell wall of plant woody cells is the largest biomass on land, the accumulation mechanism is poorly understood. Recent studies reported that arabinogalactan proteins (AGPs) play a key role in the mechanism. However, the existence of vast amount of sugar chains on AGP disturbs our molecular analyses. We formulated a hypothesis that a monosaccharide composition of the sugar chains is involved in the AGP function, and are carrying out a study into a relationship between monosaccharide composition and phenotype using genetic modified plants.

Result

We found that genetic modified plants over-expressing a human UDP-galactose transporter gene (hUGT1) displayed an increased cell wall thickness, and their AGPs were hyper-galactosylated. These results indicated that the monosaccharide composition of AGP is involved in the cell wall thickness.

For Application

Industry: fuel industry, paper manufactures, chemical industry, crop and plant modification institute Application: bioethanol production, material of paper Challenge: removal of lignin Requests for industry: proposal of an ideal plant species to fit in our technology

Competitive Advances

There are little reports that an increase of cell wall thickness was found on genetic modified plants transformed by genes responsible for cell wall biosynthesis such as cellulose synthase up to the present. Our technology is broadly applicable to many plant species for increase of biomass by thickening of the cell wall.

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Khalil et al., The impact of the overexpression of human UDP-galactose transporter gene hUGT1 in tobacco plants. J. Biosci. Bioeng., 109, 159-169 (2010).

Inquiry