Desirable plant cell wall traits for higher-quality miscanthus lignocellulosic biomass

Ricardo da Costa, Sivakumar Pattathil, Utku Avci, Ana Winters, Michael Hahn, Maurice Bosch

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Lignocellulosic biomass from dedicated energy crops such as Miscanthus spp. is an important tool to combat anthropogenic climate change. However, we still do not exactly understand the sources of cell wall recalcitrance to deconstruction, which hinders the efficient biorefining of plant biomass into biofuels and bioproducts.
We combined detailed phenotyping, correlation studies and discriminant analyses, to identify key significantly distinct variables between miscanthus organs, genotypes and most importantly, between saccharification performances. Furthermore, for the first time in an energy crop, normalised total quantification of specific cell wall glycan epitopes is reported and correlated with saccharification.
In stems, lignin has the greatest impact on recalcitrance. However, in leaves, matrix glycans and their decorations have determinant effects, highlighting the importance of biomass fine structures, in addition to more commonly described cell wall compositional features. The results of our interrogation of the miscanthus cell wall promote the concept that desirable cell wall traits for increased biomass quality are highly dependent on the target biorefining products. Thus, for the development of biorefining ideotypes, instead of a generalist miscanthus variety, more realistic and valuable approaches may come from defining a collection of specialised cultivars, adapted to specific conditions and purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number85
Number of pages18
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2019


  • bioenergy
  • biomass
  • carbohydrate
  • cell wall
  • glycan
  • lignin
  • lignocellulose
  • Miscanthus
  • recalcitrance
  • Lignin
  • Biomass
  • Cell wall
  • Glycan
  • Lignocellulose
  • Recalcitrance
  • Bioenergy
  • Carbohydrate


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