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Understanding plant cell wall architecture to improve enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulose

Grant number: 18/14030-2
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: December 01, 2018 - November 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry - Chemistry of Macromolecules
Cooperation agreement: University of Manchester
Mobility Program: SPRINT - Projetos de pesquisa - Mobilidade
Principal researcher:Richard John Ward
Grantee:Richard John Ward
Principal researcher abroad: Jolanda Margaretha van Munster
Institution abroad: University of Manchester, England
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:14/50884-5 - INCT 2014: National Institute of Science and Technology of Bioethanol, AP.TEM

Abstract

Plant cell walls are an important renewable feedstock for sustainable generation of fuels, materials and chemicals. Recalcitrance of the complex network of polysaccharides and aromatic lignin residues that comprise the lignocellulose component of plant cell walls hampers biomass deconstruction by hydrolytic enzymes. Detailed knowledge of cell wall architecture can provide a rational basis for the improvement of enzymatic degradation by sequential targeting of specific polysaccharides. As proof of principle, we propose to study the effect of stepwise enzymatic treatment of plant cell walls using cell surface sensitive techniques to follow the effect of enzyme activity on the cell wall architecture. The partners from USP will prepare defined plant tissues by dissection and cell fractionation methods, and the effect of enzyme treatments on the lignin, polysaccharides and proteins content of this material will be accompanied using advanced mass spectrometry-based imaging by the UoM partners. Changes in specific polysaccharides will also be analysed in USP using fluorescent tagged carbohydrate binding modules (CBMs) that recognise specific polysaccharides. Here we propose an 18-month plan of activities that will initiate a collaboration and knowledge exchange between USP-Ribeirão Preto and UoM and will provide proof of principle data supporting joint funding applications to exploit how knowledge of cell wall architecture can guide the enzymatic deconstruction of lignocelulose. (AU)

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