Biotech Updates

Climate Resilience Linked to Lignin Chemistry in Plants

December 7, 2022

Plants were found to encode lignin to adapt to climate change by using different combinations of enzymes called LACCASEs to make specific lignin chemistries. These findings can help scientists and breeders in selecting trees and agricultural plants with the best lignin chemistry that makes them better adapted to climate challenges.

Lignin is a plant component that stores carbon, allows plants to hydrate and grow tall, and survive abiotic stress. In plant cells, lignin chemistries adjust the mechanical strength and waterproofing to support the plant's growth and survival. Scientists at Stockholm University recently conducted an investigation to demonstrate that different LACCASE enzymes are used by individual plant cells to adjust their lignin chemical code to resist drought and wind, and other similar stresses. Their study also showed how lignin is spatially controlled at the nanometer level in each cell.

It is this mechanism at the cellular level that allows a plant to thrive. Other researchers can use this new information to select plants based on lignin codes to improve the resistance of crops and trees against climate stresses.

More information is available in The Plant Cell and Science Daily News.

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