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Objective of the project The primary aim of the project is to identify genes involved in pectin biosynthesis of potato cell walls and to determine their gene function. Secondly, the identification of the effects of the removal/change of the different pectins on the plant cell wall composition and properties. Finally, to understand the mechanism of compensation between pectin, cellulose and hemicellulose.
Background Whole potato biorefinery production chain
Problem definition Pectins are nowadays extracted from fruit press cakes after extraction juice , in particular from apple juice factories. With the technologic advances in the juice extraction process, the amount of pecting remaining in the press cake are reducing dramatically. In the growing pectin market there is a need to look for alternative sources for this polymer and potato is a good candidate. Fruthermore, pectins are complex polysaccharides that can be used in different applications both in food, industry and medical applications. For each application there are specific requests concerning pectin properties and structure, thus the tailoring of pectins in the plant would be of great advantage.
Activities The project started in January 2010 and will be for 5 years, thus till the end of 2014.
Activities are: 1. Identification of genes involved in pectin biosynthesis a.) Microarray analysis of transgenic potato lines with modified pectin composition b.) Identification of differentially expressed genes c.) Selection of candidate genes involved in pectin biosynthesis with focus on (acetyl) esterification and length and type of neutral sugar side chains
2. Characterisation of modified cell walls and identification of gene functions involved a.) Modification of pectin composition by gain and loss of function approach b.) Study of pectin composition of transgenic lines c.) Study of cell wall architecture composition of various lines d) Identify the activity of the different pectinases on different substrates
3. Defining the applications of identified genes a.) Strategy to modify pectin composition in planta b.) Publications and patent applications Activities 1.a-c run in 2011
Output The results of this project will address the following deliverables: 5.4. Aangepaste gewassen i. Ontwikkeling van gewassen die zetmeel en pectine produceren met nieuwe eigenschappen en functionaliteiten door veredeling (bijvoorbeeld aardappel).