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Biotechnol Biofuels. 2014 Jan 22;7(1):11. doi: 10.1186/1754-6834-7-11.

Aspen pectate lyase PtxtPL1-27 mobilizes matrix polysaccharides from woody tissues and improves saccharification yield.

Author information

1
Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, S901 83 Umeå, Sweden. Ewa.Mellerowicz@slu.se.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Wood cell walls are rich in cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Hence, they are important sources of renewable biomass for producing energy and green chemicals. However, extracting desired constituents from wood efficiently poses significant challenges because these polymers are highly cross-linked in cell walls and are not easily accessible to enzymes and chemicals.

RESULTS:

We show that aspen pectate lyase PL1-27, which degrades homogalacturonan and is expressed at the onset of secondary wall formation, can increase the solubility of wood matrix polysaccharides. Overexpression of this enzyme in aspen increased solubility of not only pectins but also xylans and other hemicelluloses, indicating that homogalacturonan limits the solubility of major wood cell wall components. Enzymatic saccharification of wood obtained from PL1-27-overexpressing trees gave higher yields of pentoses and hexoses than similar treatment of wood from wild-type trees, even after acid pretreatment.

CONCLUSIONS:

Thus, the modification of pectins may constitute an important biotechnological target for improved wood processing despite their low abundance in woody biomass.

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