Introduction

woboeIt is now well recognized that burning fossil fuels and deforestation are major contributors to climate change, and that plant biomass can serve as a renewable and potentially carbon-neutral raw material for the production of bioenergy and a variety of other biobased products. The major long-term goal of the Bioenergy and Bio-aromatics group is to engineer plant cell wall composition for a more cost-effective conversion of plant biomass into fermentable sugars or aromatic building blocks, without adversely affecting plant yield. As lignin needs to be depolymerized for both purposes, we focus on understanding the biosynthesis, polymerization and structure of lignin, and how lignin biosynthesis integrates into plant metabolism and development. In addition to lignin and cell wall polysaccharides, plant biomass also contains thousands of molecules of which the structures, and hence the properties, have remained unknown for the simple reason that is difficult to purify them for structural elucidation by NMR. The group has a major activity in characterizing these metabolites. Arabidopsis, maize and poplar are used as a model species for gene and metabolite discovery. Field trials are made to investigate the new traits in a relevant environment..