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WallTraC: a European network embarking 13 young scientists on the study of plant cell walls.

Over the last three years, the WallTraC project has recruited 13 young researchers and has developped useful new knowledge, tools & techniques for the analysis of plant cell walls.

In June 2011, WallTraC, the Plant Cell Wall Training Consortium, brought together nine European leading research teams pursuing two strategic objectives: • To develop new knowledge, molecular tools & techniques for the analysis of plant cell walls with direct applicability to industrial end-users; • To provide high quality, intersectorial & trans-disciplinary training in plant cell wall analysis & complementary skills. Three years later, the consortium has recruited 13 young researchers and has delivered many valuable results. Each young scientist has been working on an individual research project pursuing WallTraC objectives. As a team, they work closely together, exchange their knowledge and samples. But most importantly, they constitute a research network, which brings them closer together and is destined to grow. Today, their research efforts have already generated valuable results, and Marie-Christine Ralet, project coordinator at INRA, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research is particularly satisfied: “The results are of very good quality and they cover a wide range of research fields. Some fellows worked on cotton fibres and gave us new insights in their chemical composition during growth, but also during textile processing. Some others have generated new monoclonal antibodies and carbohydrate active enzymes that are now widely used in the network. Some more, went into the complex relationships that exist between genes and plant cell walls structure, again giving us unexpected insights. All fellows have been deeply invested in their research project. They have produced so many exciting new results that it is not possible to summarize them all in a few sentences.” The first recruits are approaching the end of their WallTraC adventure. A great part of their results has been published and presented at international conferences. All publications are accessible through the project website: www.walltrac-itn.eu.

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Belgium, Germany, Denmark, France, United Kingdom