Planta

, Volume 211, Issue 6, pp 841–845 | Cite as

Transgenic Arabidopsis plants can accumulate polyhydroxybutyrate to up to 4% of their fresh weight

  • Karen Bohmert
  • Ilse Balbo
  • Joachim Kopka
  • Volker Mittendorf
  • Christiane Nawrath
  • Yves Poirier
  • Gilbert Tischendorf
  • Richard N. Trethewey
  • Lothar Willmitzer

Abstract.

 Transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. plants expressing the three enzymes encoding the biosynthetic route to polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) are described. These plants accumulated more than 4% of their fresh weight (≈40% of their dry weight) in the form of PHB in leaf chloroplasts. These very high producers were obtained and identified following a novel strategy consisting of a rapid GC-MS analysis of a large number of transgenic Arabidopsis plants generated using a triple construct, thus allowing the parallel transfer of all three genes necessary for PHB synthesis in a single transformation event. The level of PHB produced was 4-fold greater than previously published values, thus demonstrating the large potential of plants to produce this renewable resource. However, the high levels of the polymer produced had severe effects on both plant development and metabolism. Stunted growth and a loss of fertility were observed in the high-producing lines. Analysis of the metabolite composition of these lines using a GC-MS method that we have newly developed showed that the accumulation of high levels of PHB was not accompanied by an appreciable change in either the composition or the amount of fatty acids. Substantial changes were, however, observed in the levels of various organic acids, amino acids, sugars and sugar alcohols.

Key words: Arabidopsis (PHB production) – Metabolite profiling (quadrupole mass spectrometry) – Polyhydroxyalkanoate – Polyhydroxybutyrate 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen Bohmert
    • 1
  • Ilse Balbo
    • 1
  • Joachim Kopka
    • 1
  • Volker Mittendorf
    • 1
  • Christiane Nawrath
    • 2
  • Yves Poirier
    • 3
  • Gilbert Tischendorf
    • 4
  • Richard N. Trethewey
    • 1
  • Lothar Willmitzer
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie, 14424 Potsdam, GermanyDE
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Unit of Plant Biology, University of Fribourg, Perolles, 1700 Fribourg, SwitzerlandCH
  3. 3.Institut d'Écologie-Biologie et Physiologie Végétales, Bâtiment de Biologie, Université de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, SwitzerlandCH
  4. 4.Institut für Biologie, Fachbereich Biologie-Chemie-Pharmazie, Freie Universität Berlin, Königin-Luise-Straße 12-16, 14195 Berlin, GermanyDE

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