Bioethanol might be produced more economically and with less ecological impact (with reduced exploitation of food crops) if we could increase the production of glucose from the cellulosic materials in plant cell walls. However, plant cell walls are relatively resistant to enzymatic and physicochemical hydrolysis and, therefore, it is necessary to develop methods for reducing such resistance. Changes in plant cell wall materials, by genetic engineering, that render them more easily hydrolyzable to glucose might be a valuable approach to this problem. We showed previously that, in Arabidopsis, NAC secondary wall thickening-promoting factor1 (NST1) and NST3 are key regulators of secondary wall formation. We report here that transgenic Arabidopsis plants that expressed a chimeric repressor derived from NST1 produced cell wall materials that were twice as susceptible to both enzymatic and physicochemical hydrolysis as those from wild-type plants. The yields of glucose from both fresh and dry biomass were increased in the chimeric repressor lines. Use of the NST1 chimeric repressor might enhance production of glucose from plant cell walls, by changing the nature of the cell walls themselves.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology