Importance of suberin biopolymer in plant function, contributions to soil organic carbon and in the production of bio-derived energy and materials

Biotechnol Biofuels. 2021 Mar 20;14(1):75. doi: 10.1186/s13068-021-01892-3.


Suberin is a hydrophobic biopolymer of significance in the production of biomass-derived materials and in biogeochemical cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Here, we describe suberin structure and biosynthesis, and its importance in biological (i.e., plant bark and roots), ecological (soil organic carbon) and economic (biomass conversion to bioproducts) contexts. Furthermore, we highlight the genomics and analytical approaches currently available and explore opportunities for future technologies to study suberin in quantitative and/or high-throughput platforms in bioenergy crops. A greater understanding of suberin structure and production in lignocellulosic biomass can be leveraged to improve representation in life cycle analysis and techno-economic analysis models and enable performance improvements in plant biosystems as well as informed crop system management to achieve economic and environmental co-benefits.

Keywords: Bioenergy; Biomass; Biomaterial; Biopolymer; Carbon; Cork; Genomics; Root; Soil; Suberin.

Publication types

  • Review