Modifying the corn genome to meet the US biofuel agenda


Mariam Sticklen,, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824
In order to be converted into ethanol, lignocellulosic biomass must be pretreated to remove lignin and allow enzyme access to polysaccharides, which are then broken down into fermentable sugars both costly processes. This talk documents the progress made in down regulating the crop lignin biosynthesis pathway to reduce the need for pretreatment, and presents results on modifying the corn genome to produce the enzymes needed to convert cellulose into fermentable sugar within the corn biomass. The enzymes used include the thermophilic Acidothermus cellulolyticus E1 endo-cellulase, the fungal Trichoderma reesei (CBH1) exo-cellulase, and the rumen microbial Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens H17c beta-glucosidase. The transgenic corn plants produce these enzymes only in their leaves and stalk, and store them in sub-cellular compartments. Compartmentalization of the hydrolysis enzymes prevents interference with cytoplasmic activities and also stops enzymes from breaking down the cell wall polysaccharides before the crop is harvested for conversion. It can also increase the level of production of enzymes in each plant.

Engineering the Transition to the Bioeconomy
8:25 AM-11:45 AM, Tuesday, April 8, 2008 Marriott Convention Center -- Blaine Kern D, Oral

Division of Chemical Information

The 235th ACS National Meeting, New Orleans, LA, April 6-10, 2008