Engineered Plants Make Potential Precursors to Raw Material for Plastics

"We've engineered a new metabolic pathway in plants for producing a kind of fatty acid that could be used as a source of precursors to chemical building blocks for making plastics such as polyethylene," said Brookhaven biochemist John Shanklin of the U.S. Department of Energy in collaboration with Dow AgroSciences.

The report published in the online edition of Plant Physiology describes how in many series of metabolic pathway experiments and search of a model gene receiving plant, the scientists were able to produce the desired omega-7 fatty acid at 71 percent level in the best expressing Arabidopsis line. In summary, the researchers "down-regulated" genes that compete for the introduced enzyme's fatty acid substrate and also introduced desaturases capable of intercepting substrate that had escaped the first desaturase enzyme as it progressed through the oil-accumulation pathway, the news article said.

For more information on the report see


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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