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Overexpression of a rice BAHD acyltransferase gene in switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) enhances saccharification.

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Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a promising bioenergy feedstock because it can be grown on marginal land and produces abundant biomass. Recalcitrance of the lignocellulosic components of the switchgrass cell wall to enzymatic degradation into simple sugars impedes efficient biofuel production. We previously demonstrated that overexpression of OsAT10, a BAHD acyltransferase gene, enhances saccharification efficiency in rice.


Here we show that overexpression of the rice OsAT10 gene in switchgrass decreased the levels of cell wall-bound ferulic acid (FA) in green leaf tissues and to a lesser extent in senesced tissues, and significantly increased levels of cell wall-bound p-coumaric acid (p-CA) in green leaves but decreased its level in senesced tissues of the T0 plants under greenhouse conditions. The engineered switchgrass lines exhibit an approximate 40% increase in saccharification efficiency in green tissues and a 30% increase in senesced tissues.


Our study demonstrates that overexpression of OsAT10, a rice BAHD acyltransferase gene, enhances saccharification of lignocellulosic biomass in switchgrass.

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