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Cellulose architecture systems biology for plant innovation creation

Objective

Cell walls determine the industrial properties of a range of plant products, including paper timber food fodder and spun fibres, as well as coatings , enewable polymers, and future nanocomposites. The major bottleneck in the development of novel germplasm with new cell wall properties is our lack of understanding of the impact of specific genes on cell wall texture, that is the composite of cellulose microfibrils, CMFs, intercalated between matrix polymers, and on the impact of cell wall texture on industrial properties.

The aim of this project is to develop the tools to rationally design plant cell wall properties for industrial end uses. A systems biology approach involving iterative quantitative modelling and experiments has been used to formulate a mathematical model explaining how cells determine wall texture. This mathematical model for cell wall texture formation is geometrical in origin and is therefore referred to as the geo model . It predicts all available cell wall textures given a number of parameters. In this project we will use a systems biology approach to test the function-based design capabilities of the geo model in two widely accepted model plants, Arabidopsis and the industrially important tree poplar. Transgenic plants with novel CMF and matrix gene assemblies will be produced and analyzed for changes in wall texture, chemical composition, and mechanical properties as related to industrial applications.

The experimental output will be used as the experimental input in subsequent rounds of iterative modelling and experimentation aimed at fine tuning the geo model, and its associated industrial applications. This systems biology project is new at both the world and European level. and as such lies outside the FP6 thematic priorities. If successful this project will provide a unique rational design platform and will launch a new field of transdisciplinary research for both the fundamental and applied sciences.

Call for proposal

FP6-2004-NEST-C-1
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

STREP - Specific Targeted Research Project

Coordinator

WAGENINGEN UNIVERSITY
Address
Costerweg 50
Wageningen
Netherlands

Participants (5)

INSTITUT NATIONAL DE RECHERCHE AGRONOMIQUE
France
Address
147 Rue De L Université
Paris
MAX PLANCK SOCIETY FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE
Germany
Address
Hofgartenstr. 8
München
STICHTING FOM (FUNDAMENTEEL ONDERZOEK DER MATERIE)
Netherlands
Address
Van Vollenhovenlaan 659
Utrecht
SVERIGES LANTBRUKSUNIVERSITET
Sweden
Address
Arrheniusplan 2C
Uppsala
SWETREE TECHNOLOGIES AB
Sweden
Address
Tvistevagen 48
Ume