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Introducing curcumin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis enhances lignocellulosic biomass processing

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Lignin is the main cause of lignocellulosic biomass recalcitrance to industrial enzymatic hydrolysis. By partially replacing the traditional lignin monomers by alternative ones, lignin extractability can be enhanced. To design a lignin that is easier to degrade under alkaline conditions, curcumin (diferuloylmethane) was produced in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana via simultaneous expression of the turmeric (Curcuma longa) genes DIKETIDE-CoA SYNTHASE (DCS) and CURCUMIN SYNTHASE 2 (CURS2). The transgenic plants produced a plethora of curcumin- and phenylpentanoid-derived compounds with no negative impact on growth. Catalytic hydrogenolysis gave evidence that both curcumin and phenylpentanoids were incorporated into the lignifying cell wall, thereby significantly increasing saccharification efficiency after alkaline pretreatment of the transgenic lines by 14U+201324% as compared with the wild type. These results demonstrate that non-native monomers can be synthesized and incorporated into the lignin polymer in plants to enhance their biomass processing efficiency.
Journal: NATURE PLANTS
ISSN: 2055-0278
Issue: 2
Volume: 5
Pages: 225 - 237
Publication year:2019