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Engineered Plants Make Potential Precursor to Raw Material for Plastics

Date: 22.11.2010 


In theory, plants could be the ultimate "green" factories, engineered to pump out the kinds of raw materials we now obtain from petroleum-based chemicals. But in reality, getting plants to accumulate high levels of desired products has been an elusive goal.

Additional technology to efficiently convert the plant fatty acids into chemical building blocks is needed, but our research shows that high levels of the appropriate feedstock can be made in plants."

The result was an accumulation of the desired omega-7 fatty acid at levels of about 71 percent in the best-engineered line of Arabidopsis. This was much higher than the omega-7 fatty acid levels in milkweed, and equivalent to those seen in cat's claw vine. Growth and development of the engineered Arabidopsis plants was unaffected by the genetic modifications and accumulation of omega-7 fatty acid.

Original Paper:

Huu Tam Nguyen, Girish Mishra, Edward Whittle, Scott A. Bevan, Ann Owens Merlo, Terence A. Walsh, and John Shanklin. Metabolic Engineering of Seeds can Achieve Levels of w-7 Fatty Acids Comparable to the Highest Levels Found in Natural Plant Sources. Plant Physiology, December 2010







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