Cellulase Production and Increased Biomass in Mutlifunction Crop Plants

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-04ER86183
Agency Tracking Number: 75884T04-I
Amount: $749,964.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2005
Solicitation Year: 2004
Solicitation Topic Code: 32a
Solicitation Number: DOE/SC-0075
Small Business Information
15100 Enterprise Court, Suite 100, Chantilly, VA, 20151
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Michael Blaylock
 (703) 961-8700
Business Contact
 Bruce Ferguson
Title: Mr.
Phone: (703) 961-8700
Email: ferguson@edenspace.com
Research Institution
 Michigan State University
 Susan P Titus
 301 Hannah Admin. Bldg.
East Lansing, MI, 48824
 (517) 353-9781
 Nonprofit college or university
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.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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