The search for renewable energy source increases the number of research to investigate and design specific crops order to replace fossil fuels. Given the increasing global energy demand, advances in the design of energy crops and biofuels production that cause less damage to the environment are needed. In this context, C4 photosynthesis grasses are promising to increase bioenergy production and minimize environmental impacts. Currently in Brazil, the most important biofuel is ethanol produced from sugars from sugarcane (sucrose) and appears as one of the promising solutions for renewable energy. However, the increasing demand for use of ethanol might require the expansion of sugarcane planting area, putting in discussion the environmental damage it may cause. Thus, genetic engineering can contribute significantly to increased productivity, thereby bringing the total ethanol production without large expansion of cultivated areas. However, sugarcane is polyploid, presents a complex genome and genetic analysis and genomic culture can become a laborious and time-consuming challenge. The study model plants such as foxtail millet can contribute for fast results in understanding the accumulation of biomass in grasses and serve as a starting point for studies on sugarcane. This project proposes to increase of sugar levels in the model foxtail millet plant through genetic modification techniques, under the hypothesis the change in mitochondrial redox by reducing the fumarase enzyme expression resulting in changes in the use and carbon storage. The results can not only generate transgenic events with agronomic potential, but also to bring essential information for understanding the relationship between cellular respiration and the use and carbon accumulation in C4 grasses contributing to future studies in the area.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: