Discovery of plant gene lays groundwork for improved biofuel processing

| August 29, 2012
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Since 2007, researchers at the BioEnergy Science Center, one of three U.S. Department of Energy-funded research centers, have partnered to figure out how to break down plants so that they easily release the simple sugars that can be processed into biofuels. It’s a breakthrough that could make biofuels cost competitive with gasoline.

Now, University of Georgia researchers who are part of the team have taken an important step toward that goal by identifying a previously uncharacterized gene that plays a major role in cell wall development of Arabidopsis plants, a discovery that promises to help turn plants into biofuel more efficiently.

The team of researchers found that the gene GXMT1 is responsible for directing a key step in the development of the plant polymer xylan, a principal component of cell walls in woody biomass that make it resistant to biofuel conversion.

View the original article here: Discovery of plant gene lays groundwork for improved biofuel processing – R & D Magazine

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