“Development of genetic engineering and cultivation techniques for energy plants”

Energy plants

Energy plants mean the plants cultivating for energy production such as woody and grass biomass plants. Biomass is biological material derived from living organisms. Biomass has some important features; renewable, storable, existing in great quantity and carbon neutral.

In this study, we use perennial grass plants producing high biomass such as Erianthus, guineagrass and sorghum.

The pictures below show the process of growth in Erianthus at the isolated field of gene research center. In the spring, many sprouts shot out from stubble of Erianthus, and grew 3-4 m without fertilization in the autumn.

 

Turning carbondioxide into resources by utilizing energy plants

To overcome global warming due to use of fossil fuel and depletion of fossil fuel, it is necessary to utilize alternative energy. Recent studies showed that the energy plants could be alternative sources of energy. However, some problems still remain to be solved, such as productive breeding of biomass and development of efficient utilization of biomass materials.To overcome global warming due to use of fossil fuel and depletion of fossil fuel, it is necessary to utilize alternative energy. Recent studies showed that the energy plants could be alternative sources of energy. However, some problems still remain to be solved, such as productive breeding of biomass and development of efficient utilization of biomass materials.

We promote development of basic technique for utilizing carbon dioxide resources in cooperation with other universities and research institutions. We aim to develop genetic engineering techniques for productive breeding of biomass which can be used efficiently as industrial materials.

 

Development of genetic engineering techniques of energy plants

The “Genetic Engineering Techniques” is one of the important techniques for breeding productive and industrially applicable biomass plants. However, the genetic engineering techniques have not been developed in most of the energy plants. We aim to establish efficient genetic engineering techniques for grass biomass plants. We have established callus induction and plant regeneration systems in Erianthus and guineagrass.

 

Molecular Breeding of Agrobacterium tumefaciens

Transformation process contains three steps: gene transfer step, selection of transformed cell step, and regeneration step. When you make the transformed plants, which is difficult transformation species or does not have transformation method, there is a possibility that the transformed step might be bottleneck. Therefore we attempt to improve the A. tumefaciens strain to increasing frequency of transfer process. Previous studies demonstrated that plant hormones and plant metabolites were released during co-cultivation and they prevent gene transfer via A. tumefaciens. We made new A. tumefaciens which suppress them and achieved increasing transfer frequency with this A. tumefaciens in tomato and Erianthus sp.