Using Natural Plant Cell Wall Degradation Mechanisms to Improve Second Generation Bioethanol

  • Adriana Grandis
  • Amanda P. de Souza
  • Eveline Q. P. Tavares
  • Marcos S. BuckeridgeEmail author
Part of the Advances in Plant Biology book series (AIPB, volume 4)


Cell wall hydrolysis is one of the key processes needed for development of the technology for second-generation (2G) bioethanol production. Thus, finding and characterizing enzymes that can deal with the complexity of the walls has been the main focus of research. As a result, data on pretreatments of many kinds and performances of enzyme cocktails containing glycosyl hydrolases from microorganisms are becoming quickly available. Here we propose that the efficiency of the 2G process could be increased even further by acquiring control of mechanisms that plants themselves use to degrade their own walls, so that wall loosening provoked by such processes would decrease the energy demand for pretreatments and facilitate hydrolysis. The examined in this chapter are plant-microorganism interaction, cell wall storage mobilization, fruit ripening, abscission, and aerenchyma formation. These systems are seen as having in common the use of modules that are coupled sequentially in order to lead to cell wall modification, including hydrolysis, for performance of different biological functions. These modules are (1) target cells perception of a message from the hormonal balance, (2) cell separation, (3) cell expansion, (4) programmed cell death, (5) hemicellulose-cellulose relaxation/hydrolysis and (6) cellulose hydrolysis. We propose that the use of synthetic biology to transform bioenergy feedstocks could be a route to increase the efficiency of 2G processes.


Synthetic Biology Cell Separation Glycosyl Hydrolase Middle Lamella Abscission Zone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work is part of the production of the Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia do Bioetanol-INCT do Bioetanol (FAPESP 2008/57908-6 and CNPq 574002/2008-1) and of the Centro de Processos Biológicos e Industriais para Biocombustíveis-CeProBIO (FAPESP 2009/52840-7 and CNPq 490022/2009-0). Financial support by FAPESP Projects 2010/17104-5, 2010/17070-3, 2011/07586-5 and 2011/02344-3.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adriana Grandis
    • 1
  • Amanda P. de Souza
    • 1
  • Eveline Q. P. Tavares
    • 1
  • Marcos S. Buckeridge
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Plant Physiological Ecology, Department of Botany, Institute of BiosciencesUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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