Genetic Augmentation of Syringyl Lignin in Low-lignin Aspen Trees, Final Report

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As a polysaccharide-encrusting component, lignin is critical to cell wall integrity and plant growth but also hinders recovery of cellulose fibers during the wood pulping process. To improve pulping efficiency, it is highly desirable to genetically modify lignin content and/or structure in pulpwood species to maximize pulp yields with minimal energy consumption and environmental impact. This project aimed to genetically augment the syringyl-to-guaiacyl lignin ratio in low-lignin transgenic aspen in order to produce trees with reduced lignin content, more reactive lignin structures and increased cellulose content. Transgenic aspen trees with reduced lignin content have already been achieved, prior to the ... continued below

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Tsai, Chung-Jui; Davis, Mark F. & Chiang, Vincent L. November 10, 2004.

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Description

As a polysaccharide-encrusting component, lignin is critical to cell wall integrity and plant growth but also hinders recovery of cellulose fibers during the wood pulping process. To improve pulping efficiency, it is highly desirable to genetically modify lignin content and/or structure in pulpwood species to maximize pulp yields with minimal energy consumption and environmental impact. This project aimed to genetically augment the syringyl-to-guaiacyl lignin ratio in low-lignin transgenic aspen in order to produce trees with reduced lignin content, more reactive lignin structures and increased cellulose content. Transgenic aspen trees with reduced lignin content have already been achieved, prior to the start of this project, by antisense downregulation of a 4-coumarate:coenzyme A ligase gene (Hu et al., 1999 Nature Biotechnol 17: 808- 812). The primary objective of this study was to genetically augment syringyl lignin biosynthesis in these low-lignin trees in order to enhance lignin reactivity during chemical pulping. To accomplish this, both aspen and sweetgum genes encoding coniferaldehyde 5-hydroxylase (Osakabe et al., 1999 PNAS 96: 8955-8960) were targeted for over-expression in wildtype or low-lignin aspen under control of either a constitutive or a xylem-specific promoter. A second objective for this project was to develop reliable and cost-effective methods, such as pyrolysis Molecular Beam Mass Spectrometry and NMR, for rapid evaluation of cell wall chemical components of transgenic wood samples. With these high-throughput techniques, we observed increased syringyl-to-guaiacyl lignin ratios in the transgenic wood samples, regardless of the promoter used or gene origin. Our results confirmed that the coniferaldehyde 5-hydroxylase gene is key to syringyl lignin biosynthesis. The outcomes of this research should be readily applicable to other pulpwood species, and promise to bring direct economic and environmental benefits to the pulp and paper industry.

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  • Report No.: DOE/GO10617-Final
  • Grant Number: FC36-01GO10617
  • DOI: 10.2172/883338 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 883338
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc892620

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  • November 10, 2004

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 23, 2016, 2:42 p.m.

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  • Jan. 6, 2017, 2:01 p.m.

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Tsai, Chung-Jui; Davis, Mark F. & Chiang, Vincent L. Genetic Augmentation of Syringyl Lignin in Low-lignin Aspen Trees, Final Report, report, November 10, 2004; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc892620/: accessed September 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.