Recently, interest on lignin research has increased significantly since several studies have identified this biopolymer as the main factor responsible for the recalcitrance of cell walls to cellulose-to-glucose conversion for downstream applications, such as the production of biofuels and bio-based materials. Despite recent advances, most of our current knowledge of cell wall formation and lignin metabolism is primarily derived from dicotyledoneous species. However, the molecular mechanisms controlling different aspects of lignin metabolism in grasses, such as transcriptional regulation, biosynthesis and polymerization, remains largely unknown, despite of the economic importance of this group of plants. The present project aims to develop a model systems of sorghum based on a suspension cell culture used to induce tracheary element differentiation. This system will be characterised for the differentiation rate and for cell wall biochemistry. The obtained knowledge might be very helpful for future biotechnological strategies to reduce biomass recalcitrance in bioenergy crops, such as sugarcane.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: