Sunday, April 29, 2007 - 2:45 PM

Cell wall biosynthesis in shrub willow: analysis of wood composition and gene expression patterns

Michelle J. Serapiglia1, Arthur J. Stipanovic2, Kimberly D. Cameron1, and Lawrence B. Smart1. (1) Environmental and Forest Biology, State University of New York - College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 1 Forestry Dr., Syracuse, NY 13210, (2) Chemistry, State University of New York - College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 1 Forestry Dr., Syracuse, NY 13210

The cultivation of shrub willow (Salix spp.) in North America is being scaled-up commercially as a dedicated energy crop.  Due to its high genetic diversity, shrub willow has great potential for genetic improvement through traditional breeding.  The SUNY – College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) has an extensive breeding program for the genetic improvement of shrub willow for biomass production and since 1998 breeding efforts have produced over 200 families resulting in over 5,000 progeny.  Several progeny have reached a 40% increase in harvestable biomass over check varieties.  With the success of the breeding program thus far, the selection of shrub willow for optimum processing in a biorefinery is promising.  The separation of the wood components, cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, involves costly and time-consuming pretreatment methods that can be minimized based on the ratio of these three components.  The goal for this project was to utilize a high-throughput method for the compositional analysis of willow wood to aid in the rapid screening of willow clones developed in the breeding program. A select group of willow clones was analyzed using high resolution thermogravimetric analysis (HR-TGA) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).  Significant differences in wood composition were observed among the willow clones.   In addition, expression patterns of genes involved in primary and secondary cell wall biosynthesis will be correlated with wood composition among selected parent and progeny genotypes. Gene expression analysis of lignin biosynthetic genes and selected carbohydrate active enzymes (CAZys) is currently in progress.

Web Page: