Biotechnology in trees: Towards improved paper pulping by lignin engineering

Research paper by Cuiying Chen, Marie Baucher, Jørgen Holst Christensen, Wout Boerjan

Indexed on: 01 Mar '01Published on: 01 Mar '01Published in: Euphytica


Lignin is a heterogenous phenolic polymer that plays crucial roles in the development and physiology of vascular plants. However, it needs to be removed from cellulose by toxic and energy-requiring processes for the production of high-quality paper. Therefore, a major biotechnological challenge is to obtain transgenic trees with modified lignin to improve the quality of wood for paper making. Here, we review the results obtained by alterating the expression of genes of the monolignol biosynthesis pathway in trees and the effect of these modifications on the lignin polymer and on pulping. The data reported show that lignin engineering is a promising strategy to improve wood quality for the pulp and paper industry.

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