To make biofuel, cut the lignin

Researchers disable key protein, make plant sugars easier to access

By Meghan Rosen, 14:20 PM August 16, 2013

Plant stems and leaves are tough, but breaking them down doesn’t have to be. By crippling a single protein, researchers can grow plants that have 36 percent less lignin, the sturdy plant-wall molecule that makes chewing up plants for biofuel production so difficult.

Lignin (the name comes from the Latin word for wood) forms the support beams of plant cell walls. The molecular beams stiffen stems, letting plants stand straight and tall. But for scientists trying to capture sugars studded throug...

Source URL: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/make-biofuel-cut-lignin