Feedstock Development projects

Improvement of Bioenergy Crops Via Transformation - Completed

Widholm’s team studied a plant regeneration and transformation system for Miscanthus x giganteus and one of its parental species, M. sinensis.  M. x giganteus has great potential as a biomass crop due to its very high productivity and low input costs. It is especially important to be able to introduce genes into M. x giganteus since the plants are sterile hybrids between M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus, and cannot be modified in the usual way by breeders. The group explored the possibility of using Agrobacterium tumefaciens as the method of DNA delivery.

project Highlights

2010 Highlights

Once the transformation system is developed many alterations are possible including altering the lignin and cellulose contents to make the cell walls more fermentable, adding cold, heat, disease, drought, insect and herbicide tolerance, increasing water and N-use efficiency and increasing growth rate and biomass productivity. Widholm’s group has been able to obtain transformed tissue cultures as shown by PCR and reporter gene expression using two different selectable marker genes and but could not regenerate transformed plants.

2009 Highlights

The transformation protocol requires several steps, including first of all being able to regenerate plants from tissue cultures.  Widholm’s team successfully regenerated plants from cultures initiated from M. x giganteus immature inflorescences and M. sinensis seedlings. Recent evaluation of these plants showed no phenotypic variation or DNA content changes caused by the tissue culture and plant regeneration.



Published in 2010

Miscanthus x giganteus Plant Regeneration: Effect of Callus Types, Ages and Culture Methods on Regeneration Competence, Hyoung Seok Kim, Guirong Zhang, John Juvik, Jack Widholm, Global Change Biology-Bioenergy, 2(4), pps. 192-200, July 2, 2010.



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