Get updates on COVID-19 research at COVID-19 Resource
Crop Biotech Update

Transgenic Tobacco Plants Exhibit Increased Production of Wax Esters

July 8, 2015

Wax esters from plants are potential cost-effective and sustainable sources of lubricants. However, plants contain very minimal amounts of wax esters to allow commercial production. Thus, scientists from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and University of Agricultural Sciences in Sweden conducted a study to investigate if biosynthesis of wax esters can be boosted in plants using transgenic techniques.

The researchers used a fusion between two bacterial genes together encoding a single wax ester-forming enzyme, and targeted the resulting protein to chloroplasts in stably transformed tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana) plants. Results showed that the transgenic plants had significantly increased the amount of wax esters by up to eight-fold, compared to the wild-type controls. However, strong transformants exhibited developmental abnormalities, which were due to accumulation of fatty alcohols. This suggests that there must be adequate balance between formation and esterification of fatty alcohols.

Read the abstract of this study at Transgenic Research.