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Transcriptome analysis of Agave spp

Grant number: 17/04900-7
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2017
Effective date (End): December 31, 2017
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Plant Genetics
Principal researcher:Gonçalo Amarante Guimarães Pereira
Grantee:Fabio Trigo Raya
Supervisor abroad: Piotr Mieczkowski
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:16/05396-8 - Gene expression of Agave spp. for bioenergy: exploiting the potential of CAM plants, BP.MS

Abstract

Agave species have recently emerged as candidate bioenergy crop because of their high yield in areas of low rainfall, drought tolerance and low lignin content. Although commercial production of Agave spp. for bioenergy has not yet been demonstrated, several species has been cultivated commercially either for alcoholic beverage or natural fibers production. Among the Agaves grown to obtain fiber, the most widely cultivated is Agave sisalana (Sisal). Brazil is currently the world's largest producer and exporter of sisal fiber, representing 70% of the exports and 58% of the global production. The commercially cultivated agave in Brazilian territory occupies a large area of nutrient-poor soils in the Northeast's semiarid region, where it often shows itself as the only growing crop alternative with satisfactory economic results. It's possible mainly due to the crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM), a highly water-use efficient photosynthetic mechanism. To explore the yield potential of CAM species as feedstock for biofuel production, a systems-level understanding is required that spans the molecular and metabolic controls over the pathway through to the agronomic performance of CAM in marginal ecosystems. Comprehensive transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomics analysis of high-yielding CAM species would be an important step towards maximizing the potential of such species as biofuel feedstocks through selection and breeding. Therefore, this project aims to identify genes or pathways differentially expressed related to drought resistance and biomass formation by transcriptomics analysis of Agave. (AU)

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