December 21, 2012

Discovery May Pave Way to Genetically Enhanced Biofuel Crops

Plants engineered to have increased levels of β-1,4-galactan may enhance biofuel production

Best known for its ability to transform simmering pots of sugared fruit into marmalades and jams, pectin is a major constituent of plant cell walls and the middle lamella, the sticky layer that glues neighboring plant cells together. Pectin imparts strength and elasticity to the plant and forms a protective barrier against the environment. Several different kinds of pectic compounds combine to form pectin. The relative proportion of each of these depends on the plant species, location within the plant, and environment.