© 2016 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Conversion of nongrain biomass into liquid fuel is a sustainable approach to energy demands as global population increases. Previously, we showed that iron can act as a catalyst to enhance the degradation of lignocellulosic biomass for biofuel production. However, direct addition of iron catalysts to biomass pretreatment is diffusion-limited, would increase the cost and complexity of biorefinery unit operations and may have deleterious environmental impacts. Here, we show a new strategy for in planta accumulation of iron throughout the volume of the cell wall where iron acts as a catalyst in the deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass. We engineered CBM-IBP fusion polypeptides composed of a carbohydrate-binding module family 11 (CBM11) and an iron-binding peptide (IBP) for secretion into Arabidopsis and rice cell walls. CBM-IBP transformed Arabidopsis and rice plants show significant increases in iron accumulation and biomass conversion compared t o respective controls. Further, CBM-IBP rice shows a 35% increase in seed iron concentration and a 40% increase in seed yield in greenhouse experiments. CBM-IBP rice potentially could be used to address iron deficiency, the most common and widespread nutritional disorder according to the World Health Organization.
Yang, H., Wei, H., Ma, G., Antunes, M. S., Vogt, S., Cox, J., … Peer, W. A. (2016). Cell wall targeted in planta iron accumulation enhances biomass conversion and seed iron concentration in Arabidopsis and rice. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 14(10), 1998–2009. https://doi.org/10.1111/pbi.12557