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Improved Xylan Extraction




Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified a rice acyltransferase gene that, with increased expression, improves both the extraction of xylan and saccharification without significant changes in plant health, seed mass and biomass, compared to wild type plants.

Xylan, an abundant polysaccharide, offers a significant amount of stored energy for biofuel production. Yet, most of the enzymes that synthesize xylan have not been identified, and none of the enzymes specific to grass xylan synthesis have been identified. This technology is the first demonstration that increased expression of a native plant gene modifies cell wall content and affects cell wall digestibility.

DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle.

STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.


Chiniquy, D., Sharma, V., Schultink, A., Baidoo, E., Rautengarte, C., Cheng, K., Carroll, A., Ulvskov, P., Harholt, J., Keasling, J.D., Pauly, M., Scheller, H.V., Ronald, P.C. “XAX1 from glycosyltransferase family 61 mediates Xylosyl transfer for rice xylan,” Proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), October 16, 2012, Vol. 109, No. 42, 17117-17122.

Yarris, Lynn. “A Better Route to Xylan,” Berkeley Lab News Center, November 12, 2012.


The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI, is a scientific partnership led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and including the Sandia National Laboratories, the University of California campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. JBEI’s primary scientific mission is to advance the development of the next generation of biofuels.


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