Translational research in bio-energy crops

A major objective of the group is to demonstrate, in field trials, that it is possible to engineer biomass crops such that the biomass processing is improved without associated yield penalty. Our previous field trial with CCR downregulated poplar showed that we can significantly improve biomass processing, but not yet to the level that it is useful for the biorefinery. In addition, the downregulation of CCR was variable and associated with a yield penalty. The objective now is to stably engineer plants with modified lignin, but that do not have a yield penalty, by making use of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology, and to evaluate these plants (poplar/maize) in experimental field trials.

Field trial of popular genetically engineered to produce lower amounts of the CINNAMYL 
ALCOHOL DEHYDROGENASE (CAD1) protein, an enzyme involved in lignin biosynthesis