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1.  Distinct Geographical Distribution of the Miscanthus Accessions with Varied Biomass Enzymatic Saccharification 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(8):e0160026.
Miscanthus is a leading bioenergy candidate for biofuels, and it thus becomes essential to characterize the desire natural Miscanthus germplasm accessions with high biomass saccharification. In this study, total 171 natural Miscanthus accessions were geographically mapped using public database. According to the equation [P(H/L| East) = P(H/L∩East)/P(East)], the probability (P) parameters were calculated on relationships between geographical distributions of Miscanthus accessions in the East of China, and related factors with high(H) or low(L) values including biomass saccahrification under 1% NaOH and 1% H2SO4 pretreatments, lignocellulose features and climate conditions. Based on the maximum P value, a golden cutting line was generated from 42°25’ N, 108°22’ E to 22°58’ N, 116°28’ E on the original locations of Miscanthus accessions with high P(H|East) values (0.800–0.813), indicating that more than 90% Miscanthus accessions were originally located in the East with high biomass saccharification. Furthermore, the averaged insolation showed high P (H|East) and P(East|H) values at 0.782 and 0.754, whereas other climate factors had low P(East|H) values, suggesting that the averaged insolation is unique factor on Miscanthus distributions for biomass saccharification. In terms of cell wall compositions and wall polymer features, both hemicelluloses level and cellulose crystallinity (CrI) of Miscanthus accessions exhibited relative high P values, suggesting that they should be the major factors accounting for geographic distributions of Miscanthus accessions with high biomass digestibility.
PMCID: PMC4988763  PMID: 27532636
2.  Biomass digestibility is predominantly affected by three factors of wall polymer features distinctive in wheat accessions and rice mutants 
Wheat and rice are important food crops with enormous biomass residues for biofuels. However, lignocellulosic recalcitrance becomes a crucial factor on biomass process. Plant cell walls greatly determine biomass recalcitrance, thus it is essential to identify their key factors on lignocellulose saccharification. Despite it has been reported about cell wall factors on biomass digestions, little is known in wheat and rice. In this study, we analyzed nine typical pairs of wheat and rice samples that exhibited distinct cell wall compositions, and identified three major factors of wall polymer features that affected biomass digestibility.
Based on cell wall compositions, ten wheat accessions and three rice mutants were classified into three distinct groups each with three typical pairs. In terms of group I that displayed single wall polymer alternations in wheat, we found that three wall polymer levels (cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin) each had a negative effect on biomass digestibility at similar rates under pretreatments of NaOH and H2SO4 with three concentrations. However, analysis of six pairs of wheat and rice samples in groups II and III that each exhibited a similar cell wall composition, indicated that three wall polymer levels were not the major factors on biomass saccharification. Furthermore, in-depth detection of the wall polymer features distinctive in rice mutants, demonstrated that biomass digestibility was remarkably affected either negatively by cellulose crystallinity (CrI) of raw biomass materials, or positively by both Ara substitution degree of non-KOH-extractable hemicelluloses (reverse Xyl/Ara) and p-coumaryl alcohol relative proportion of KOH-extractable lignin (H/G). Correlation analysis indicated that Ara substitution degree and H/G ratio negatively affected cellulose crystallinity for high biomass enzymatic digestion. It was also suggested to determine whether Ara and H monomer have an interlinking with cellulose chains in the future.
Using nine typical pairs of wheat and rice samples having distinct cell wall compositions and wide biomass saccharification, Ara substitution degree and monolignin H proportion have been revealed to be the dominant factors positively determining biomass digestibility upon various chemical pretreatments. The results demonstrated the potential of genetic modification of plant cell walls for high biomass saccharification in bioenergy crops.
PMCID: PMC3878626  PMID: 24341349
Cell wall; Cellulose crystallinity; Arabinose substitution degree; p-coumaryl alcohol proportion; Biomass digestibility; Chemical pretreatment; Wheat; Rice
3.  Hemicelluloses negatively affect lignocellulose crystallinity for high biomass digestibility under NaOH and H2SO4 pretreatments in Miscanthus 
Lignocellulose is the most abundant biomass on earth. However, biomass recalcitrance has become a major factor affecting biofuel production. Although cellulose crystallinity significantly influences biomass saccharification, little is known about the impact of three major wall polymers on cellulose crystallization. In this study, we selected six typical pairs of Miscanthus samples that presented different cell wall compositions, and then compared their cellulose crystallinity and biomass digestibility after various chemical pretreatments.
A Miscanthus sample with a high hemicelluloses level was determined to have a relatively low cellulose crystallinity index (CrI) and enhanced biomass digestibility at similar rates after pretreatments of NaOH and H2SO4 with three concentrations. By contrast, a Miscanthus sample with a high cellulose or lignin level showed increased CrI and low biomass saccharification, particularly after H2SO4 pretreatment. Correlation analysis revealed that the cellulose CrI negatively affected biomass digestion. Increased hemicelluloses level by 25% or decreased cellulose and lignin contents by 31% and 37% were also found to result in increased hexose yields by 1.3-times to 2.2-times released from enzymatic hydrolysis after NaOH or H2SO4 pretreatments. The findings indicated that hemicelluloses were the dominant and positive factor, whereas cellulose and lignin had synergistic and negative effects on biomass digestibility.
Using six pairs of Miscanthus samples with different cell wall compositions, hemicelluloses were revealed to be the dominant factor that positively determined biomass digestibility after pretreatments with NaOH or H2SO4 by negatively affecting cellulose crystallinity. The results suggested potential approaches to the genetic modifications of bioenergy crops.
PMCID: PMC3462114  PMID: 22883929
4.  Expression profiling and integrative analysis of the CESA/CSL superfamily in rice 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:282.
The cellulose synthase and cellulose synthase-like gene superfamily (CESA/CSL) is proposed to encode enzymes for cellulose and non-cellulosic matrix polysaccharide synthesis in plants. Although the rice (Oryza sativa L.) genome has been sequenced for a few years, the global expression profiling patterns and functions of the OsCESA/CSL superfamily remain largely unknown.
A total of 45 identified members of OsCESA/CSL were classified into two clusters based on phylogeny and motif constitution. Duplication events contributed largely to the expansion of this superfamily, with Cluster I and II mainly attributed to tandem and segmental duplication, respectively. With microarray data of 33 tissue samples covering the entire life cycle of rice, fairly high OsCESA gene expression and rather variable OsCSL expression were observed. While some members from each CSL family (A1, C9, D2, E1, F6 and H1) were expressed in all tissues examined, many of OsCSL genes were expressed in specific tissues (stamen and radicles). The expression pattern of OsCESA/CSL and OsBC1L which extensively co-expressed with OsCESA/CSL can be divided into three major groups with ten subgroups, each showing a distinct co-expression in tissues representing typically distinct cell wall constitutions. In particular, OsCESA1, -3 & -8 and OsCESA4, -7 & -9 were strongly co-expressed in tissues typical of primary and secondary cell walls, suggesting that they form as a cellulose synthase complex; these results are similar to the findings in Arabidopsis. OsCESA5/OsCESA6 is likely partially redundant with OsCESA3 for OsCESA complex organization in the specific tissues (plumule and radicle). Moreover, the phylogenetic comparison in rice, Arabidopsis and other species can provide clues for the prediction of orthologous gene expression patterns.
The study characterized the CESA/CSL of rice using an integrated approach comprised of phylogeny, transcriptional profiling and co-expression analyses. These investigations revealed very useful clues on the major roles of CESA/CSL, their potentially functional complement and their associations for appropriate cell wall synthesis in higher plants.
PMCID: PMC3022907  PMID: 21167079

Results 1-4 (4)