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New Phytol. 2017 Mar;213(4):1710-1725. doi: 10.1111/nph.14306. Epub 2016 Nov 15.

A cell wall reference profile for Miscanthus bioenergy crops highlights compositional and structural variations associated with development and organ origin.

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Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Plas Gogerddan, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3EE, UK.
Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, The University of Georgia, 315 Riverbend Road, Athens, GA, 30602, USA.
US Department of Energy Bioenergy Science Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, 37831, USA.
Biology Department, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, 01003, USA.


Miscanthus spp. are promising lignocellulosic energy crops, but cell wall recalcitrance to deconstruction still hinders their widespread use as bioenergy and biomaterial feedstocks. Identification of cell wall characteristics desirable for biorefining applications is crucial for lignocellulosic biomass improvement. However, the task of scoring biomass quality is often complicated by the lack of a reference for a given feedstock. A multidimensional cell wall analysis was performed to generate a reference profile for leaf and stem biomass from several miscanthus genotypes harvested at three developmentally distinct time points. A comprehensive suite of 155 monoclonal antibodies was used to monitor changes in distribution, structure and extractability of noncellulosic cell wall matrix glycans. Glycan microarrays complemented with immunohistochemistry elucidated the nature of compositional variation, and in situ distribution of carbohydrate epitopes. Key observations demonstrated that there are crucial differences in miscanthus cell wall glycomes, which may impact biomass amenability to deconstruction. For the first time, variations in miscanthus cell wall glycan components were comprehensively characterized across different harvests, organs and genotypes, to generate a representative reference profile for miscanthus cell wall biomass. Ultimately, this portrait of the miscanthus cell wall will help to steer breeding and genetic engineering strategies for the development of superior energy crops.


bioenergy; biomass; carbohydrate; cell wall; glycan; lignocellulose; miscanthus; recalcitrance

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