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.
Dr. Mohnen's group at the University of Georgia has identified a clade of genes that are associated with the control of the biosynthesis of both pectin and lignin (and possibly xylan). Mutations of these genes in certain plants (including switchgrass and Populus) lead to considerable reduction of recalcitrance (v. wild type), as shown by means of bacterial degradation of modified biomass. Furthermore, Populus plants bearing some of these mutations have exhibited a considerable increase in height and stem diameter (v.wild type). Plants bearing these mutations may prove suitable for economically viable extraction and use of carbohydrates from plant cell wall, as recalcitrance is greatly reduced and rate of overall growth of modified plants increase.
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