Lignin modification improves fermentable sugar yields for biofuel production

Nat Biotechnol. 2007 Jul;25(7):759-61. doi: 10.1038/nbt1316. Epub 2007 Jun 17.


Recalcitrance to saccharification is a major limitation for conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to ethanol. In stems of transgenic alfalfa lines independently downregulated in each of six lignin biosynthetic enzymes, recalcitrance to both acid pretreatment and enzymatic digestion is directly proportional to lignin content. Some transgenics yield nearly twice as much sugar from cell walls as wild-type plants. Lignin modification could bypass the need for acid pretreatment and thereby facilitate bioprocess consolidation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Biotechnology / methods*
  • Carbohydrates / chemistry*
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Energy-Generating Resources*
  • Fermentation
  • Lignin / chemistry*
  • Lignin / metabolism
  • Medicago sativa / genetics*
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Temperature


  • Carbohydrates
  • Polymers
  • Polysaccharides
  • Lignin