"Plant Cell Walls: Biology, Human Health and Biofuels" – University of Copenhagen

Center for Synthetic Biology > News > Synbio lecture: "Plant...

25 July 2012

"Plant Cell Walls: Biology, Human Health and Biofuels"

Professor Geoffrey B. Fincher

Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide, Waite Campus,
Glen Osmond, South Australia 5064, Australia

Date: Friday August 31st

Time: 10:00-11:00

Location: M117-1

Thorvaldsensvej 40
Frederiksberg 1871

All are welcome.

Major new drivers of international research in plant science include the central roles of cell walls as renewable sources of transport fuels, and as functional foods to improve human health.  Plant cell walls represent the world’s largest renewable carbon resource and are the major source of fibre in most human diets.  Although there has been steady progress towards identifying the genes that mediate the biosynthesis of major wall components, the regulatory mechanisms that control molecular, enzymic and cellular processes involved in the synthesis, deposition, re-modelling and depolymerisation of these wall components are still being defined.  We have particularly focused on cell wall biology and biochemistry in the grasses, which arguably include the most important plants for human nutrition.

Emerging information on the biosynthesis of the most important wall polysaccharides in the grasses, namely the heteroxylans, (1,3;1,4)-β-glucans and cellulose, will be related to their biological functions.  As functional genomics technologies enable us to identify genes involved in cell wall biology, providing the final proof of function of the candidate genes is an ongoing challenge.  In addition, generally accepted views of the mechanisms of wall polysaccharide assembly in the endomembrane system of cells are being re-evaluated.  Examples of how advances in our fundamental knowledge of plant cell wall biology can be applied in the areas of renewable biofuel production and improved human health will be presented.