Cellulase Production and Increased Biomass in Mutlifunction Crop Plants
75884-To increase the domestic supply of clean, renewable energy sources, the President¿s National Energy Policy and the U.S. Department of Energy¿s Strategic Plan contemplate the increased production of hydrogen as a fuel. The production of hydrogen from plant biomass is especially attractive because it is a renewable energy resource and because it recycles atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, new technologies and co-production opportunities are needed to reduce current costs. This project will create new transgenic crop plants, specifically tobacco and corn, that are characterized by: (1) greater biomass; (2) constitutive production of heat-stable cellulases, to aid the post-harvest hydrolysis of plant biomass to simple sugars; and (3) delayed flowering, to prevent the escape of transgenes. In Phase I, an existing accession of tobacco, transformed with the Acidothermus cellulolyticus E1 endoglucanase gene, will be tested for enzymatic stability and phytoremediation performance. The E1 tobacco line will be modified with the Arabidopsis Flowering Locus C (FLC) gene and tested for increased biomass, delayed flowering, enzymatic stability, and phytoremediation performance. Maize also will be transformed with the E1 and FLC genes for testing in Phase II. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The new plants should be useful for the production of low-cost cellulase and, subsequently, for the production of hydrogen, through the hydrolysis of plant cellulose. The process would be particularly suitable for co-production with such agriculturally-based applications as phytoremediation.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
Edenspace Systems Corporation
15100 Enterprise Court Suite 100 Chantilly, VA 20151
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Michigan State University
301 Hannah Admin. Bldg.
East Lansing, MI 48824
Susan P. Titus
Nonprofit college or university