Cell-wall compositional analysis of the energy crop Miscanthus as a means to optimise its application as a feedstock for bioenergy and biorefining

Ricardo Manuel Fernandes Da Costa, Ana Louise Winters, Maurice Bosch

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Dedicated lignocellulosic energy crops from the genus Miscanthus constitute high potential candidate feedstocks for biofuel production. However, there are gaps in our understanding concerning the relationship between cell-wall structural components and the accessibility of its energy rich polysaccharides to exogenously applied hydrolytic enzymes. Plant cell-wall recalcitrance to saccharification therefore remains a key bottleneck to the cost-effective production of second-generation biofuels and industrial biomaterials. At IBERS, Aberystwyth University, we have an extensive Miscanthus germplasm collection, of which 25 lines were chosen for an in-depth analysis of lignocellulosic biomass following a multidimensional approach which considers: different developmental stages, stem vs. leaf compositional variability and various genotypes selected to give a diverse range in cell-wall composition. A combination of biochemical and cell biological approaches are being applied, which includes: the analysis of cell-wall polysaccharides using an ELISA-based method for glycome profiling[1],
acetyl bromide lignin determination[2] and a bioassay using Clostridium phytofermentans for the determination of biomass digestibility[3]. The results from these studies will be correlated with saccharification data, with the aim of
improving the cost-effectiveness of Miscanthus biorefining. Nonetheless, preliminary results have already provided support to the pertinence of this multidimensional approach to acquiring a more detailed understanding
of cell-wall features in the context of lignocellulosic feedstocks. Ultimately this will lead to more effective biorefining treatments and help guide the breeding and engineering of high-quality lignocellulosic energy crops
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013
EventXIII Cell Wall Meeting - Nantes, France
Duration: 07 Jul 201312 Jul 2013


ConferenceXIII Cell Wall Meeting
Period07 Jul 201312 Jul 2013


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