Guide Genetic Improvement of Bioenergy Crops

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Various methods of biodiesel production from different sources were reviewed recently Andrade et al. This review described the transesterification of vegetable oils, animal fats, and oil from algae to produce biodiesel using homogeneous, heterogeneous, and enzyme catalysts along with ultrasound, microwave, and super-critical alcohol techniques. Transesterification base, acid, or enzyme catalyzed and noncatalytic transesterification are two general methods used for biodiesel production.

During transesterification, methanol is preferred over the use of ethanol because of its relatively low cost, lower moisture sensitivity, miscibility with biodiesel, and ability to reduce the viscosity of biodiesel Demirbas Modified from Sustainable Green Technologies, sgth2. Base-catalyzed reactions involve sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide, with potassium hydroxide being preferred because of the fast reaction rates, cheap catalyst, and less corrosive reaction. One disadvantage of using a base catalyst is its reaction with free fatty acids to form soaps, producing alkaline water that requires energy-intensive waste treatment.

Enzymatic transesterification can be used instead of chemical catalysts for several reasons. The enzymes are generally more selective, allow for easier glycerol removal, convert free fatty acids, perform at lower temperatures, and have increased reusability of the catalyst. Lipases are derived from microbes or fungi. According to Al-Zuhair , although the general lipase used is from Candida antarctica B, the Pseudomonas fluorescens lipase had the better enzymatic activity.

Other factors such as water content, type of alcohol used, type of lipase, and temperature all affect the usefulness of the lipase in biodiesel production. Noncatalytic methods are supercritical methanol and BIOX. Supercritical methanol has a simpler procedure and shorter reaction time than catalytic methods as well as being environmentally friendly, but under cost-intensive higher temperature and pressure Al-Zuhair ; Demirbas ; Andrade et al. This process can use grain, cooking grease, and animal fats as feedstocks.

Soybean is a biodiesel plant that has garnered a lot of interest. It is thought to have originated from China and is cultivated worldwide. The oil has five fatty acids that make up its composition: palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, and linolenic. Tropical areas allow for soybean growth year round. Lately, genetic improvement of this crop has been focused on several traits such as yield, pest resistance, and seed oil composition Lee et al. Currently, soybean is transformed through Agrobacterium or particle bombardment using one of three typical explants: cotyledonary node, embryonic axis, or somatic embryos Lee et al.

Agrobacterium relies on a biological method of transformation, whereas particle bombardment uses physical induction Finer and Larkin One advantage of using soybean is its ability to grow without the addition of nitrogen as fertilizer. One of the main disadvantages to using soybean oil is that it is a major food crop in the United States, with similar problems to that of incorporating corn for bioethanol. Jatropha is an important nonfood crop adapted to environments of tropical and subtropical climates, semi-arid, and marginal lands. Jatropha can grow in various soils, but it is sensitive to frost and waterlogging Achten and Mathijs Other attractive features of jatropha include drought hardiness, rapid growth, easy propagation, low cost of seeds, and small gestation period Sujatha et al.

The main disadvantage of using jatropha oil for biodiesel is its high viscosity Pramanik The high viscocity of jatropha oil reduces the efficiency of fuel injectors in the diesel engines Demirbas In addition to being cultivated for its oil content, jatropha plants are being used in water and wind erosion control as a living fence to protect food crops and to make soap Achten and Mathijs ; FAO Because of this, jatropha is one of the very efficient biofuels and can be used with slight modifications to the diesel engine.

Overall, jatropha is expected to have a positive effect on land currently thought to be wasteland. Because jatropha harvesting is currently not mechanized, manual labor will be needed, potentially increasing the number of jobs available in rural environments FAO Genetic transformation of jatropha is still in the developmental stage because not many genes of significant value have been incorporated through genetic engineering.

Original Article

More research is needed in jatropha to make this crop more reliable as a bioenergy source. Currently, the germplasm available has many setbacks, including the lack of genetic information, poor yields, vulnerability to pests, and low genetic diversity.


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Areas of improvement should focus on improving yields, higher oil content, and achieving faster maturity and enhanced fuel properties Sujatha et al. Agrobacterium- mediated transformation has been performed with the SaDREBI gene, with the bar gene for selection on phosphinothricin and gus as a reporter gene Sujatha et al. Genes such as curcin and stearoyl-acyl carrier protein denaturase and JcERF demonstrating salt and frost tolerance have been identified. A high-quality normalized cDNA library using developing jatropha seeds has been developed by Natarajan et al.

Li et al.

These technologies will be useful in speeding up the genetic engineering process of jatropha. The genus Brassica consists of approximately species including Brassica napus canola , which is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region or in northern Europe. Edible oil, low in erucic acid, was first extracted in Canada in Colton and Potter Canola oil is an excellent cooking oil and can be used to manufacture biodiesel through enzymatic and chemical processes Dizge and Keskinler ; Issariyakul et al.

The remaining by-product after seed oil extraction, canola seed meal, is used as a high-protein animal feed. Canola is highly amenable to in vitro manipulations, including tissue culture and genetic engineering.


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Transformation efficiency of canola was improved to make a working protocol that suits multiple cultivars Cardoza and Stewart , ; Bhalla and Singh Canola has been genetically engineered using Agrobacterium to impart herbicide-resistance to imidazoline, glufosinate, glyphosate, sulfonylurea, and bromoxynil Blackshaw et al.

Canola became the number one crop of Canada because of the use of GM canola. Oleic acid level in B. Transgenic canola with elevated levels of stearate content was obtained by the overexpression of the Garm FatA1 , an acyl-carrier protein ACP thioesterase, isolated from Garcinia mangostana Hawkins and Kridl In addition, these lines also showed an increase in laurate at the sn-2 position Knutzon et al.

Because there are increasing pest problems in canola cultivation, insect resistance is a target trait for genetic improvement.

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For example, canola is very susceptible to the diamond back moth. Halfhill et al. The B. Camelina was used for oil production long before World War II and grown all over Europe, but this practice declined after the war. The oil is mostly unsaturated, making it a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately, a large portion of the fats are polyunsaturated, making this oil difficult to work with for fuel production Lu and Kang The high amount C 18 fatty acids makes camelina a renewable source of oleochemicals, which are used in varnishes and in drying oils for paint.

There are a few published reports of transformation of Camelina using Agrobacterium Lu and Kang ; Kuvshinov et al. Also, there are three patent applications for transformation of Camelina and transgenic plants produced. This indicates the potential of Camelina as a dedicated biodiesel crop. Lu and Kang used DsRed as a fluorescent protein marker and also transformed Camelina with castor fatty acid hydroxylase, resulting in a change in the fatty acid profile of Camelina.

With the availability of these protocols, it is anticipated that more value-added genes that will confer resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, herbicide resistance, enhance oil yield, and increase quality of oil can be generated in the near future.

Castor is a monotypic genus belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae. The center of origin of castor is believed to be Africa and India Ramaprasad and Bandopadhyay Castor is widely used as a lubricant and has many other medicinal properties. Castor oil is widely used in India and several countries as a source of biodiesel Ogunniyi ; Sujatha et al. Such diversity of use has led to a steady increase in the demand for castor oil on the world market. Malathi et al. Sujatha et al. They standardized the conditions for transformation by particle bombardment, including the helium pressure psi , target distance 6.

Agrobacterium- mediated transformation of castor with the cryIEC gene offered field resistance to tobacco caterpillar larva and semilooper larva Sujatha et al. Ricinus communis genome has been sequenced quite recently and is estimated to be approximately Mb in size Chan et al. With these advances in genetic engineering and genomics, GM castor with many favorable traits could be developed in the near future, which would enhance the value of castor as a biodiesel crop.

Oil palm is known to have originated from West Africa Hardon et al. It is currently a significant cash crop in Malaysia and Indonesia Sambanthamurthi et al. Current and rising demand for biodiesel will increase the demand for palm oil. Therefore, conventional breeding, genomics, and genetic engineering are being applied to achieve genetic improvement of oil palm Parveez Genetic engineering is applied to oil palm to reduce the time needed to develop improved varieties by accelerated breeding approaches, achieve precision gene transfer, and widen the genetic base of oil palm Sambanthamurthi et al.

Abdulla et al. An immature embryo system enhanced the amenability of oil palm to in vitro manipulations. Oil palm was recently transformed with polyhydroxyvalerate gene using Agrobacterium -mediated gene transfer Faud et al.

Perennial bioenergy crops

This construct was effectively transferred to the immature embryos using Agrobacterium -mediated transformation. Biofuel is the future fuel because it is a renewable, less polluting, and environment friendly sustainable fuel. Major challenges for the biofuel industry include but are not limited to 1 production of biofuel feedstocks at a reasonable cost and in sufficient quantities, 2 cost-effective transportation of the biomass to processing facilities, and 3 cost-effective processing of biomass into biofuels and developing methods for cost-effective, environment friendly utilization of by-products of the processing.

A combination of biotechnologies such as genomics, marker-assisted breeding, and genetic engineering has the potential to accelerate breeding to develop biofuel crops that are more productive and highly adapted to abiotic and biotic stress. Availability of such novel biofuel crop cultivars may increase acreage and production of biofuel crops to meet the ever-increasing demand for biofuel feedstocks without affecting the global food security.

Conventional and Molecular Biofuel Use from Bioenergy Life-Cycle Energy and Green We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Free trial voucher code. Invalid Search. Enter keywords, authors, DOI etc. Search History. Search history from this session 0. Metrics Views Abstract Fossil fuels coal, petroleum, and natural gas are neither sustainable nor ecofriendly because the source is finite and their use cause considerable pollution. Abdulla R. Electron J Biotechnol 8 1 — Abogbo F.

Pichia stipitis Biotechnol Lett — Abramson M. Plant Sci — Achten W. Biofuels Bioproducts Biorefining — Ajanovic A. Energy, doi Al-Zuhair S. Biofuel Bioprod Biorefin — Andrade J. Biomass Bioenergy — Arencibia A. Transgen Res — Biotechnol Appl — Baba K. Molecular Plant 2 5 — Babu B. Balat M.