Genetic engineering of grass cell wall polysaccharides for biorefiningEngineering grass cell wall polysaccharides

Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1071-1092
JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
Issue number9
Early online date30 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2017
Permanent link
Show download statistics
View graph of relations
Citation formats


Grasses represent an abundant and widespread source of lignocellulosic biomass, which has yet to fulfil its potential as a feedstock for biorefining into renewable and sustainable biofuels and commodity chemicals. The inherent recalcitrance of lignocellulosic materials to deconstruction is the most crucial limitation for the commercial viability and economic feasibility of biomass biorefining. Over the last decade, the targeted genetic engineering of grasses has become more proficient, enabling rational approaches to modify lignocellulose with the aim of making it more amenable to bioconversion. In this review, we provide an overview of transgenic strategies and targets to tailor grass cell wall polysaccharides for biorefining applications. The bioengineering efforts and opportunities summarised here rely primarily on (A) reprogramming gene regulatory networks responsible for the biosynthesis of lignocellulose, (B) remodelling the chemical structure and substitution patterns of cell wall polysaccharides and (C) expressing lignocellulose degrading and/or modifying enzymes in planta. It is anticipated that outputs from the rational engineering of grass cell wall polysaccharides by such strategies could help in realising an economically sustainable, grass-derived lignocellulose processing industry.


  • bioenergy, biomass, biotechnology, grasses, lignocellulose, transgenic plants