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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2016 Feb;37:190-200. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2015.10.009. Epub 2016 Jan 15.

Designer lignins: harnessing the plasticity of lignification.

Author information

1
Department of Wood Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.
2
Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, Ghent University, B-9052 Gent, Belgium; Department of Plant Systems Biology, VIB, B-9052 Gent, Belgium.
3
Department of Energy Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Madison, WI 53726-4084, USA; Department of Biochemistry, Wisconsin Energy Institute, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706-1544, USA. Electronic address: jralph@wisc.edu.
4
Department of Wood Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada; Department of Energy Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, Madison, WI 53726-4084, USA.

Abstract

Lignin is a complex polyphenolic constituent of plant secondary cell walls. Inspired largely by the recalcitrance of lignin to biomass processing, plant engineering efforts have routinely sought to alter lignin quantity, composition, and structure by exploiting the inherent plasticity of lignin biosynthesis. More recently, researchers are attempting to strategically design plants for increased degradability by incorporating monomers that lead to a lower degree of polymerisation, reduced hydrophobicity, fewer bonds to other cell wall constituents, or novel chemically labile linkages in the polymer backbone. In addition, the incorporation of value-added structures could help valorise lignin. Designer lignins may satisfy the biological requirement for lignification in plants while improving the overall efficiency of biomass utilisation.

PMID:
26775114
DOI:
10.1016/j.copbio.2015.10.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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