1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
To develop sorghum lines with high lignin content in order to test the hypothesis that higher lignin will increase bioenergy available through combustion.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Transgenes expected to increase lignin content will be inserted into the sorghum genome. Transformed lines will be evaluated for lignin content and for energy released during combustion.
During the duration of this agreement, the five transgenes were designed and constructed to increase cell wall polymer, lignin for bioenergy. These transgenes have been inserted into the sorghum and these lines are under evaluation for their ability to increase lignin. A pilot study using sorghum plants with reduced lignin content demonstrated that lignin content had a significantly affected total energy available for combustion. This outcome defines lignin as a viable target to increase energy content for combustion. These five transgenic sorghum lines represent the experimental foundation to explore our ability to engineer increased lignin content through biotechnology in sorghum and unlock this potential resource for the U.S. sorghum and bioenergy industries. The project is monitored through regular emails, telephone conferences, and a monthly meeting with the cooperator.