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Genetic engineering of grass cell wall polysaccharides for biorefining

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JournalPlant biotechnology journal
DateAccepted/In press - 24 May 2017
DatePublished (current) - 29 May 2017
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)1-22
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Grasses represent an abundant and widespread source of lignocellulosic biomass, which has yet to fulfil its potential as a feedstock for biorefining into renewable and sustainable biofuels and commodity chemicals. The inherent recalcitrance of lignocellulosic materials to deconstruction is the most crucial limitation for the commercial viability and economic feasibility of biomass biorefining. Over the last decade, the targeted genetic engineering of grasses has become more proficient, enabling rational approaches to modify lignocellulose with the aim of making it more amenable to bioconversion. In this review, we provide an overview of transgenic strategies and targets to tailor grass cell wall polysaccharides for biorefining applications. The bioengineering efforts and opportunities summarized here rely primarily on (A) reprogramming gene regulatory networks responsible for the biosynthesis of lignocellulose, (B) remodelling the chemical structure and substitution patterns of cell wall polysaccharides and (C) expressing lignocellulose degrading and/or modifying enzymes in planta. It is anticipated that outputs from the rational engineering of grass cell wall polysaccharides by such strategies could help in realizing an economically sustainable, grass-derived lignocellulose processing industry.

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© 2017, The Author(s).

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  • Journal Article, Review

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