Investigation of tension wood formation and 2,6-dichlorbenzonitrile application in short rotation coppice willow composition and enzymatic saccharification
- Equal contributors
1 Division of Biology, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, UK
2 Plant and Invertebrate Ecology Department, Centre for Bioenergy and Climate Change, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 2JQ, UK
3 Institut de recherche en biologie vegetale, University of Montreal, 4101 Sherbrooke East, Montreal, QC H1X 2B2, Canada
Biotechnology for Biofuels 2011, 4:13 doi:10.1186/1754-6834-4-13Published: 24 May 2011
Short rotation coppice willow is a potential lignocellulosic feedstock in the United Kingdom and elsewhere; however, research on optimising willow specifically for bioethanol production has started developing only recently. We have used the feedstock Salix viminalis × Salix schwerinii cultivar 'Olof' in a three-month pot experiment with the aim of modifying cell wall composition and structure within the stem to the benefit of bioethanol production. Trees were treated for 26 or 43 days with tension wood induction and/or with an application of the cellulose synthesis inhibitor 2,6-dichlorobenzonitrile that is specific to secondary cell walls. Reaction wood (tension and opposite wood) was isolated from material that had received the 43-day tension wood induction treatment.
Glucan content, lignin content and enzymatically released glucose were assayed. All measured parameters were altered without loss of total stem biomass yield, indicating that enzymatic saccharification yield can be enhanced by both alterations to cell wall structure and alterations to absolute contents of either glucan or lignin.
Final glucose yields can be improved by the induction of tension wood without a detrimental impact on biomass yield. The increase in glucan accessibility to cell wall degrading enzymes could help contribute to reducing the energy and environmental impacts of the lignocellulosic bioethanol production process.