Biomass is a renewable resource that has shown promise to replace petroleum based fuels, while reduc-ing green house gas emissions. The plant cell walls, which are the dominant component of feedstocks, contain polysaccharides such as cellulose, heteroxylans, and glucomannans that can ultimately be con-verted to fuel. However, the production of biomass-based fuels has not been cost competitive relative to oil or other energy resources. A key challenge is cell walls have built up a natural protection (or recal-citrance) that makes the process of converting polysaccharides to fermentable sugars inefficient.
UGA researchers developed a library of ~200 MAbs that recognize epitope structures characteristic of most major plant cell wall polysaccharides. These MAbs are monospecific with regard to the structure that they bind. They can provide temporal and spatial information about plant cell wall structures at the whole plant, tissue, cell, and sub-cellular levels and can be used to monitor and define changes in wall structure arising from developmental, environmental, and mutational influences. As importantly, MAbs can be used for qualitative and quantitative detection of carbohydrate epitopes in plant ex-tracts. In this document, we describe how MAbs can be used for characterization of biomass materials especially with regards to monitoring changes in cell wall structure that might impact biomass recalci-trance.
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