Enzymatic Modification of Plant Cell Wall Polysaccharides

Jens Øbro, Takahisa Hayashi, Jørn Dalgaard Mikkelsen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Plant cell walls are intricate structures with remarkable properties, widely used in almost every aspect of our life. Cell walls consist largely of complex polysaccharides and there is often a need for chemical and biochemical processing before industrial use. There is an increasing demand for sustainable processes that replace chemical treatments with white biotechnology. Plants can contribute significantly to this sustainable process by producing plant or microbialenzymes in planta that are necessary for plant cell wall modification or total degradation. This will give rise to superior food fibres, hydrocolloids, paper,textile, animal feeds or biofuels. Classical microbial-based fermentation systems could in the future face serious competition from plant-based expression systems for enzyme production. Plant expressed enzymes can either be targeted to specific cellular compartments for accumulation and storage, or targeted to the cell wall for immediate modification of the polysaccharides. Furthermore, thermoactivated enzymes can successfully be employed to avoid undue degradation of the cell wall and detrimental phenotypes resulting from this. A further use of enzyme expression in planta is the possibility of elucidating the biological role of specific polymers, such as the involvement of xyloglucan in tree bending, or to decreasethe level of pectin in flax to simplify the retting step in the textile refinery process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnual Plant Reviews : Plant Polysaccharides
EditorsPeter Ulvskov
PublisherBlackwell Publishing
Publication date2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011
SeriesAnnual Plant Reviews


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