ResearchPad - lignin https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Evaluation of residue management practices on barley residue decomposition]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13875 Optimizing barley (hordeum vulgare L.) production in Idaho and other parts of the Pacific Northwest (PNW) should focus on farm resource management. The effect of post-harvest residue management on barley residue decomposition has not been adequately studied. Thus, the objective of this study was to determine the effect of residue placement (surface vs. incorporated), residue size (chopped vs. ground-sieved) and soil type (sand and sandy loam) on barley residue decomposition. A 50-day(d) laboratory incubation experiment was conducted at a temperature of 25°C at the Aberdeen Research and Extension Center, Aberdeen, Idaho, USA. Following the study, a Markov-Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) modeling approach was applied to investigate the first-order decay kinetics of barley residue. An accelerated initial flush of residue carbon(C)-mineralization was measured for the sieved (Day 1) compared to chopped (Day 3 to 5) residues for both surface incorporated applications. The highest evolution of carbon dioxide (CO2)-C of 8.3 g kg-1 dry residue was observed on Day 1 from the incorporated-sieved application for both soils. The highest and lowest amount of cumulative CO2-C released and percentage residue decomposed over 50-d was observed for surface-chopped (107 g kg-1 dry residue and 27%, respectively) and incorporated-sieved (69 g kg-1 dry residue and 18%, respectively) residues, respectively. There were no significant differences in C-mineralization from barley residue based on soil type or its interactions with residue placement and size (p >0.05). The largest decay constant k of 0.0083 d-1 was calculated for surface-chopped residue where the predicted half-life was 80 d, which did not differ from surface sieved or incorporated chopped. In contrast, incorporated-sieved treatments only resulted in a k of 0.0054 d-1 and would need an additional 48 d to decompose 50% of the residue. Future residue decomposition studies under field conditions are warranted to verify the residue C-mineralization and its impact on residue management.

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<![CDATA[Comprehensive genome-wide analysis of the pear (Pyrus bretschneideri) laccase gene (PbLAC) family and functional identification of PbLAC1 involved in lignin biosynthesis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c75c6d5eed0c4843d0173

The content and size of stone cell clusters affects the quality of pear fruit, and monolignol polymerization and deposition in the cell walls constitute a required step for stone cell formation. Laccase (LAC) is the key enzyme responsible for the polymerization of monolignols. However, there are no reports on the LAC family in pear (Pyrus bretschneideri), and the identity of the members responsible for lignin synthesis has not been clarified. Here, 41 LACs were identified in the whole genome of pear. All Pyrus bretschneideri LACs (PbLACs) were distributed on 13 chromosomes and divided into four phylogenetic groups (I-IV). In addition, 16 segmental duplication events were found, implying that segmental duplication was a primary reason for the expansion of the PbLAC family. LACs from the genomes of three Rosaceae species (Prunus mummer, Prunus persica, and Fragaria vesca) were also identified, and an interspecies collinearity analysis was performed. The phylogenetic analysis, sequence alignments and spatiotemporal expression pattern analysis suggested that PbLAC1, 5, 6, 29, 36 and 38 were likely associated with lignin synthesis and stone cell formation in fruit. The two target genes of Pyr-miR1890 (a microRNA identified from pear fruit that is associated with lignin and stone cell accumulation), PbLAC1 and PbLAC14, were selected for genetic transformation. Interfamily transfer of PbLAC1 into Arabidopsis resulted in a significant increase (approximately 17%) in the lignin content and thicker cell walls in interfascicular fibre and xylem cells, which demonstrated that PbLAC1 is involved in lignin biosynthesis and cell wall development. However, the lignin content and cell wall thickness were not changed significantly in the PbLAC14-overexpressing transgenic Arabidopsis plants. This study revealed the function of PbLAC1 in lignin synthesis and provides important insights into the characteristics and evolution of the PbLAC family.

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<![CDATA[An integrated characterization of Picea abies industrial bark regarding chemical composition, thermal properties and polar extracts activity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c06f03cd5eed0c484c6d494

The present work determines the chemical and thermal characteristics as well as the phytochemical and antioxidant potential of the polar extractives of the Picea abies bark from an industrial mill, their wood and bark components and also different bark fractions obtained by mechanical fractionation (fine B1, Φ<0.180 mm, medium B3, 0.450 < Φ<0.850 mm and coarse B6, 2 < Φ<10 mm). The aim is to increase the knowledge on the Picea abies bark to better determine possible uses other than burning for energy production and to test an initial size reduction process to achieve fractions with different characteristics. Compared to wood, bark presented similar lignin (27%), higher mineral (3.9% vs 0.4%) and extractives (20.3% vs 3.8%) and lower polysaccharides (48% vs 71%) contents. Regarding bark fractions the fines showed higher ash (6.3%), extractives (25%) and lignin (29%) than the coarse fraction (3.9%, 19% and 25% respectively). Polysaccharide contents increased with particle size of the bark fractions (38% vs 52% for B1 and B6) but showed the same relative composition. The phytochemical profile of ethanol and water extracts presented higher contents for bark than wood of total phenols (2x higher), flavonoids (3x higher) and tannins (4-10x higher) with an increasing tendency with particle size. Bark antioxidant activity was higher than that of wood for ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP, 10 vs 6 mmolFe2+/gExt for the ethanol extract) and free radical scavenging activity (DPPH, 6 vs 18 mg/L IC50 for the ethanol extract) methods. The different bark fractions antioxidant activity was very similar. Bark thermal properties showed a much lower volatiles to fixed carbon ratio (V/FC) than wood (3.1 vs 5.2) although the same higher heating value (20.3 MJ/kg). The fractions were quite similar. Bark presented chemical features that point to their possible upgrade, whether by taking advantage of the high extractives with bioactive compounds or the production potential for hemicellulose-derived oligomers with possible use in nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries.

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<![CDATA[Characterization and Functional Analysis of 4-Coumarate:CoA Ligase Genes in Mul-berry]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9fbab0ee8fa60b72164

A small, multigene family encodes 4-coumarate:CoA ligases (4CLs) that catalyze the ligation of CoA to hydroxycinnamic acids, a branch point directing metabolites to flavonoid or monolignol pathways. In this study, we characterized four 4CL genes from M. notabilis Genome Database, and cloned four Ma4CL genes from M. atropurpurea cv. Jialing No.40. A tissue-specific expression analysis indicated that Ma4CL3 was expressed at higher levels than the other genes, and that Ma4CL3 was strongly expressed in root bark, stem bark, and old leaves. Additionally, the expression pattern of Ma4CL3 was similar to the trend of the total flavonoid content throughout fruit development. A phylogenetic analysis suggested that Mn4CL1, Mn4CL2, and Mn4CL4 belong to class I 4CLs, and Mn4CL3 belongs to class II 4CLs. Ma4CL genes responded differently to a series of stresses. Ma4CL3 expression was higher than that of the other Ma4CL genes following wounding, salicylic acid, and ultraviolet treatments. An in vitro enzyme assay indicated that 4-coumarate acid was the best substrate among cinnamic acid, 4-coumarate acid, and caffeate acid, but no catalytic activity to sinapate acid and ferulate acid. The results of subcellular localization experiments showed that Ma4CL3 localized to the cytomembrane, where it activated transcription. We used different vectors and strategies to fuse Ma4CL3 with stilbene synthase (STS) to construct four Ma4CL-MaSTS co-expression systems to generate resveratrol. The results indicated that only a transcriptional fusion vector, pET-Ma4CL3-T-MaSTS, which utilized a T7 promoter and lac operator for the expression of MaSTS, could synthesize resveratrol.

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<![CDATA[Lignin-degrading peroxidases in white-rot fungus Trametes hirsuta 072. Absolute expression quantification of full multigene family]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdc019

Ligninolytic heme peroxidases comprise an extensive family of enzymes, which production is characteristic for white-rot Basidiomycota. The majority of fungal heme peroxidases are encoded by multigene families that differentially express closely related proteins. Currently, there were very few attempts to characterize the complete multigene family of heme peroxidases in a single fungus. Here we are focusing on identification and characterization of peroxidase genes, which are transcribed and secreted by basidiomycete Trametes hirsuta 072, an efficient lignin degrader. The T. hirsuta genome contains 18 ligninolytic peroxidase genes encoding 9 putative lignin peroxidases (LiP), 7 putative short manganese peroxidases (MnP) and 2 putative versatile peroxidases (VP). Using ddPCR method we have quantified the absolute expression of the 18 peroxidase genes under different culture conditions and on different growth stages of basidiomycete. It was shown that only two genes (one MnP and one VP) were prevalently expressed as well as secreted into cultural broth under all conditions investigated. However their transcriptome and protein profiles differed in time depending on the effector used. The expression of other peroxidase genes revealed a significant variability, so one can propose the specific roles of these enzymes in fungal development and lifestyle.

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<![CDATA[Effect of nitrogen levels and nitrogen ratios on lodging resistance and yield potential of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5ab19339463d7e5f0fb18c42

Lodging is one of the constraints that limit wheat yields and quality due to the unexpected bending or breaking stems on wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) production worldwide. In addition to choosing lodging resistance varieties, husbandry practices also have a significant effect on lodging. Nitrogen management is one of the most common and efficient methods. A field experiment with Yangmai 20 as research material (a widely-used variety) was conducted to study the effects of different nitrogen levels and ratios on culm morphological, anatomical characters and chemical components and to explore the nitrogen application techniques for lodging tolerance and high yield. Results showed that some index of basal internodes, such as stem wall thickness, filling degree, lignin content, cellulose content, water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) and WSC/N ratio, were positively and significantly correlated with culm lodging-resistant index (CLRI). As the increase of nitrogen level and basal nitrogen ratio, the basal internodes became slender and fragile with the thick stem wall, while filling degree, chemical components and the strength of the stem decreased gradually, which significantly increased the lodging risk. The response of grain yield to nitrogen doses was quadratic and grain yield reached the highest at the nitrogen ratio of 50%:10%:20%:20% (the ratio of nitrogen amount applied before sowing, at tillering stage, jointing stage and booting stage respectively, abbreviated as 5:1:2:2). These results suggested that for Yangmai 20, the planting density of 180×104ha-1, nitrogen level of 225 kg ha-1, and the ratio of 5: 1: 2: 2 effectively increased lodging resistance and grain yield. This combination of planting density and nitrogen level and ratio could effectively relieve the contradiction between high-yielding and anti-lodging.

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<![CDATA[Effectiveness Factors and Conversion in a Biocatalytic Membrane Reactor]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db0aab0ee8fa60bc9d4b

Analytical expressions of the effectiveness factor of a biocatalytic membrane reactor, and its asymptote as the Thiele modulus becomes large, are presented. The evaluation of the effectiveness factor is based on the solution of the governing equations for solute transport in the two regions of the reactor, i.e. the lumen and the matrix (with the biofilm immobilized in the matrix). The lumen solution accounts for both axial diffusion and radial convective flow, while the matrix solution is based on Robin-type boundary conditions. The effectiveness factor is shown to be a function of the Thiele modulus, the partition coefficient, the Sherwood number, the Peclet number, and membrane thickness. Three regions of Thiele moduli are defined in the effectiveness factor graphs. These correspond with reaction rate limited, internal-diffusion limited, and external mass transfer limited solute transport. Radial convective flows were shown to only improve the effectiveness factor in the region of internal diffusion limitation. The assumption of first order kinetics is shown to be applicable only in the Thiele modulus regions of internal and external mass transfer limitation. An iteration scheme is also presented for estimating the effectiveness factor when the solute fractional conversion is known. The model is validated with experimental data from a membrane gradostat reactor immobilised with Phanerochaete chrysosporium for the production of lignin and manganese peroxidases. The developed model and experimental data allow for the determination of the Thiele modulus at which the effectiveness factor and fractional conversion are optimal.

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<![CDATA[Chemical characterization and extractives composition of heartwood and sapwood from Quercus faginea]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5fab0ee8fa60be107a

Heartwood and sapwood of Quercus faginea were evaluated in relation to summative chemical composition and non-polar and polar extracts composition, including an assessment of antioxidant properties (DPPH and FRAP). Twenty trees from two sites in Portugal were analysed. Heartwood had approximately two times more solvent extractible compounds than sapwood (on average 19.0% and 9.5%). The lipophilic extractible compounds were below 1%, and most of them were polar e.g. ethanol-soluble compounds corresponded to 65% of total extractives in heartwood and 43% in sapwood. Lignin content was similar in sapwood and heartwood (28.1% and 28.6% of extractive-free wood respectively) as well as the sugar composition. Site did not influence the chemical composition. The lipophilic extractible compounds from both sapwood and heartwood included mainly saturated fatty acids (23.0% and 36.9% respectively) and aromatic compounds were also abundant in sapwood (22.9%). The ethanol-water extractibles had a high content of phenolic substances (558.0 and 319.4 mg GAE/g extract, respectively of heartwood and sapwood). The polyphenolic composition was similar in heartwood and sapwood with higher content of ellagitannins (168.9 and 153.5 mg tannic acid/g of extract in sapwood and heartwood respectively) and very low content of condensed tannins. The antioxidant activity was very high with IC50 of 2.6 μg/ml and 3.3 μg/ml for sapwood and heartwood respectively, as compared to standard antioxidants (IC50 of 3.8 μg/ml for Trolox). The ferric reducing ability was 2.8 and 2.0 mMol Trolox equivalents/g extract of heartwood and sapwood respectively. The variability between trees was low and no differences between the two sites were found. Q. faginea showed a very good potential for cooperage and other applications for which a source of compounds with antioxidant properties is desirable.

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<![CDATA[EjMYB8 Transcriptionally Regulates Flesh Lignification in Loquat Fruit]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2bab0ee8fa60b8271d

Transcriptional regulatory mechanisms underlying lignin metabolism have been widely studied in model plants and woody trees, but seldom in fruits such as loquat, which undergo lignification. Here, twelve EjMYB genes, designed as EjMYB3-14, were isolated based on RNA-seq. Gene expression indicated that EjMYB8 and EjMYB9 were significantly induced in fruit with higher lignin content resulting from storage at low temperature (0°C), while two treatments (low temperature conditioning, LTC; heat treatment, HT) both alleviated fruit lignification and inhibited EjMYB8 and EjMYB9 expression. Dual-luciferase assays indicated that EjMYB8, but not EjMYB9, could trans-activate promoters of lignin-related genes EjPAL1, Ej4CL1 and Ej4CL5. Yeast one-hybrid assay indicated that EjMYB8 physically bind to Ej4CL1 promoter. Furthermore, the putative functions of EjMYB8 were verified using transient over-expression in both N. tabacum and loquat leaves, which increased lignin content. Moreover, combination of EjMYB8 and previously isolated EjMYB1 generated strong trans-activation effects on the Ej4CL1 promoter, indicating that EjMYB8 is a novel regulator of loquat fruit lignification.

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<![CDATA[Prospecting for Energy-Rich Renewable Raw Materials: Sorghum Stem Case Study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db23ab0ee8fa60bcfbe0

Sorghum vegetative tissues are becoming increasingly important for biofuel production. The composition of sorghum stem tissues is influenced by genotype, environment and photoperiod sensitivity, and varies widely between varieties and also between different stem tissues (outer rind vs inner pith). Here, the amount of cellulose, (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan, arabinose and xylose in the stems of twelve diverse sorghum varieties, including four photoperiod-sensitive varieties, was measured. At maturity, most photoperiod-insensitive lines had 1% w/w (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan in stem pith tissue whilst photoperiod-sensitive varieties remained in a vegetative stage and accumulated up to 6% w/w (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan in the same tissue. Three sorghum lines were chosen for further study: a cultivated grain variety (Sorghum bicolor BTx623), a sweet variety (S. bicolor Rio) and a photoperiod-sensitive wild line (S. bicolor ssp. verticilliflorum Arun). The Arun line accumulated 5.5% w/w (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan and had higher SbCslF6 and SbCslH3 transcript levels in pith tissues than did photoperiod-insensitive varieties Rio and BTx623 (<1% w/w pith (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan). To assess the digestibility of the three varieties, stem tissue was treated with either hydrolytic enzymes or dilute acid and the release of fermentable glucose was determined. Despite having the highest lignin content, Arun yielded significantly more glucose than the other varieties, and theoretical calculation of ethanol yields was 10 344 L ha-1 from this sorghum stem tissue. These data indicate that sorghum stem (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan content may have a significant effect on digestibility and bioethanol yields. This information opens new avenues of research to generate sorghum lines optimised for biofuel production.

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<![CDATA[RNAseq Transcriptional Profiling following Whip Development in Sugarcane Smut Disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db17ab0ee8fa60bcd492

Sugarcane smut disease is caused by the biotrophic fungus Sporisorium scitamineum. The disease is characterized by the development of a whip-like structure from the primary meristems, where billions of teliospores are produced. Sugarcane smut also causes tillering and low sucrose and high fiber contents, reducing cane productivity. We investigated the biological events contributing to disease symptoms in a smut intermediate-resistant sugarcane genotype by examining the transcriptional profiles (RNAseq) shortly after inoculating the plants and immediately after whip emission. The overall picture of disease progression suggests that premature transcriptional reprogramming of the shoot meristem functions continues until the emergence of the whip. The guidance of this altered pattern is potentially primarily related to auxin mobilization in addition to the involvement of other hormonal imbalances. The consequences associated with whip emission are the modulation of typical meristematic functions toward reproductive organ differentiation, requiring strong changes in carbon partitioning and energy production. These changes include the overexpression of genes coding for invertases and trehalose-6P synthase, as well as other enzymes from key metabolic pathways, such as from lignin biosynthesis. This is the first report describing changes in the transcriptional profiles following whip development, providing a hypothetical model and candidate genes to further study sugarcane smut disease progression.

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<![CDATA[Fast Pyrolysis of Tropical Biomass Species and Influence of Water Pretreatment on Product Distributions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da5bab0ee8fa60b8fec8

The fast pyrolysis behaviour of pretreated banagrass was examined at four temperatures (between 400 and 600 C) and four residence times (between ~1.2 and 12 s). The pretreatment used water washing/leaching to reduce the inorganic content of the banagrass. Yields of bio-oil, permanent gases and char were determined at each reaction condition and compared to previously published results from untreated banagrass. Comparing the bio-oil yields from the untreated and pretreated banagrass shows that the yields were greater from the pretreated banagrass by 4 to 11 wt% (absolute) at all reaction conditions. The effect of pretreatment (i.e. reducing the amount of ash, and alkali and alkali earth metals) on pyrolysis products is: 1) to increase the dry bio-oil yield, 2) to decrease the amount of undetected material, 3) to produce a slight increase in CO yield or no change, 4) to slightly decrease CO2 yield or no change, and 5) to produce a more stable bio-oil (less aging). Char yield and total gas yield were unaffected by feedstock pretreatment. Four other tropical biomass species were also pyrolyzed under one condition (450°C and 1.4 s residence time) for comparison to the banagrass results. The samples include two hardwoods: leucaena and eucalyptus, and two grasses: sugarcane bagasse and energy-cane. A sample of pretreated energy-cane was also pyrolyzed. Of the materials tested, the best feedstocks for fast pyrolysis were sugarcane bagasse, pretreated energy cane and eucalyptus based on the yields of 'dry bio-oil', CO and CO2. On the same basis, the least productive feedstocks are untreated banagrass followed by pretreated banagrass and leucaena.

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<![CDATA[Individual Plasticity of the Shade Response of the Invasive Solidago canadensis in China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa0ab0ee8fa60ba599b

To evaluate the population variation, individual plasticity, and local adaptability of Solidago canadensis in response to shade treatment, we conducted a common pots experiment with a total of 150 ramets (5 genets, 15 populations, and 2 treatments) subjected to both control (natural light) and shady treatment (10% of natural light). Shade treatment significantly reduced growth and content of defense metabolites in S. canadensis. Compared to control, shading led to increased height, decreased basal diameter, increased leaf width, increased leaf length, increased chlorophyll content, stronger photosynthetic rate (Pn), stronger stomatal conductance (gs), and lower root to shoot ratio. Three-way analysis of variance revealed geographical origin to significantly affect the basal diameter of S. canadensis, while genotype significantly affected plant height, intercelluar CO2 concentration (Ci), transpiration rate (Tr), and proline content. Significant interactive effects between shade and geographic origin were prevalent for most traits. The phenotypic differentiation coefficient of the plasticity of all traits was below 0.4, indicating that most of all variations can be found among individuals within populations. Phenotypic selection analysis revealed that fitness was significantly positively related to plant height, basal diameter, Ci, total flavonoid content, as well as the plasticity of plant height, leaf length, leaf width, gs, Ci, total flavonoid content, and malondialdehyde content under the control condition. However, subjected to shade, fitness was only significantly positively related to plant height, basal diameter, and the plasticity of basal diameter. Rather than local adaption, these results suggest that individual plasticity played a more prominent role in the shade response of the invasive S. canadensis.

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<![CDATA[Chronic Nitrogen Deposition Has a Minor Effect on the Quantity and Quality of Aboveground Litter in a Boreal Forest]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad2ab0ee8fa60bb6821

There is evidence that anthropogenic nitrogen (N) deposition enhances carbon (C) sequestration in boreal soils. However, key underlying mechanisms explaining this increase have not been resolved. Two potentially important mechanisms are that aboveground litter production increases, or that litter quality changes in response to N enrichment. As such, our aim was to quantify whether simulated chronic N deposition caused changes in aboveground litter production or quality in a boreal forest. We conducted a long-term (17 years) stand-scale (0.1 ha) forest experiment, consisting of three N addition levels (0, 12.5, and 50 kg N ha-1 yr-1) in northern Sweden, where background N deposition rates are very low. We measured the annual quantity of litter produced for 8 different litter categories, as well as their concentrations of C, N, phosphorus (P), lignin, cellulose and hemi-cellulose. Our results indicate that mosses were the only major litter component showing significant quantitative and qualitative alterations in response to the N additions, indicative of their ability to intercept a substantial portion of the N added. These effects were, however, offset by the other litter fractions where we found no changes in the total litter fluxes, or individual chemical constituents when all litter categories were summed. This study indicates that the current annual litter fluxes cannot explain the increase in soil C that has occurred in our study system in response to simulated chronic N application. These results suggest that other mechanisms are likely to explain the increased soil C accumulation rate we have observed, such as changes in soil microbial activity, or potentially transient changes in aboveground litter inputs that were no longer present at the time of our study.

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<![CDATA[De novo transcriptome assembly and quantification reveal differentially expressed genes between soft-seed and hard-seed pomegranate (Punica granatum L.)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5dab0ee8fa60be047a

Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) belongs to Punicaceae, and is valued for its social, ecological, economic, and aesthetic values, as well as more recently for its health benefits. The ‘Tunisia’ variety has softer seeds and big arils that are easily swallowed. It is a widely popular fruit; however, the molecular mechanisms of the formation of hard and soft seeds is not yet clear. We conducted a de novo assembly of the seed transcriptome in P. granatum L. and revealed differential gene expression between the soft-seed and hard-seed pomegranate varieties. A total of 35.1 Gb of data were acquired in this study, including 280,881,106 raw reads. Additionally, de novo transcriptome assembly generated 132,287 transcripts and 105,743 representative unigenes; approximately 13,805 unigenes (37.7%) were longer than 1,000 bp. Using bioinformatics annotation libraries, a total of 76,806 unigenes were annotated and, among the high-quality reads, 72.63% had at least one significant match to an existing gene model. Gene expression and differentially expressed genes were analyzed. The seed formation of the two pomegranate cultivars involves lignin biosynthesis and metabolism, including some genes encoding laccase and peroxidase, WRKY, MYB, and NAC transcription factors. In the hard-seed pomegranate, lignin-related genes and cellulose synthesis-related genes were highly expressed; in soft-seed pomegranates, expression of genes related to flavonoids and programmed cell death was slightly higher. We validated selection of the identified genes using qRT-PCR. This is the first transcriptome analysis of P. granatum L. This transcription sequencing greatly enriched the pomegranate molecular database, and the high-quality SSRs generated in this study will aid the gene cloning from pomegranate in the future. It provides important insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying the formation of soft seeds in pomegranate.

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<![CDATA[The Arabidopsis Domain of Unknown Function 1218 (DUF1218) Containing Proteins, MODIFYING WALL LIGNIN-1 and 2 (At1g31720/MWL-1 and At4g19370/MWL-2) Function Redundantly to Alter Secondary Cell Wall Lignin Content]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da85ab0ee8fa60b9bfc0

DUF1218 is a land plant-specific innovation and has previously been shown to be associated with cell wall biology, vasculature patterning and abiotic/biotic stress response. The Arabidopsis genome encodes 15 members, two of which (At1g31720 and At4g27435) are preferentially expressed in the secondary cell wall depositing inflorescence stems. To further our understanding of the roles of DUF1218-containing proteins in secondary cell wall biology, we functionally characterized At1g31720 (herein referred to as MODIFYING WALL LIGNIN-1 or MWL-1). Since related gene family members may contribute to functional redundancy, we also characterized At4g19370 (MWL-2), the most closely related gene to MWL-1 in the protein family. Subcellular localization revealed that both Arabidopsis proteins are targeted to the cell periphery. The single T-DNA knockout lines, mwl-1 and mwl-2, and independent overexpression lines showed no significant differences in plant growth or changes in total lignin content relative to wild-type (WT) control plants. However, the double homozygous mutant, mwl-1/mwl-2, had smaller rosettes with a significant decrease in rosette fresh weight and stem height relative to the WT control at four weeks and six weeks, respectively. Moreover, mwl-1/mwl-2 showed a significant reduction in total lignin content (by ca. 11% relative to WT) and an increase in syringyl/guaiacyl (S/G) monomer ratio relative to the control plants. Our study has identified two additional members of the DUF1218 family in Arabidopsis as novel contributors to secondary cell wall biology, specifically lignin biosynthesis, and these proteins appear to function redundantly.

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<![CDATA[Cloning and Phylogenetic Analysis of Brassica napus L. Caffeic Acid O-Methyltransferase 1 Gene Family and Its Expression Pattern under Drought Stress]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da3bab0ee8fa60b8814c

For many plants, regulating lignin content and composition to improve lodging resistance is a crucial issue. Caffeic acid O-methyltransferase (COMT) is a lignin monomer-specific enzyme that controls S subunit synthesis in plant vascular cell walls. Here, we identified 12 BnCOMT1 gene homologues, namely BnCOMT1-1 to BnCOMT1-12. Ten of 12 genes were composed of four highly conserved exons and three weakly conserved introns. The length of intron I, in particular, showed enormous diversification. Intron I of homologous BnCOMT1 genes showed high identity with counterpart genes in Brassica rapa and Brassica oleracea, and intron I from positional close genes in the same chromosome were relatively highly conserved. A phylogenetic analysis suggested that COMT genes experience considerable diversification and conservation in Brassicaceae species, and some COMT1 genes are unique in the Brassica genus. Our expression studies indicated that BnCOMT1 genes were differentially expressed in different tissues, with BnCOMT1-4, BnCOMT1-5, BnCOMT1-8, and BnCOMT1-10 exhibiting stem specificity. These four BnCOMT1 genes were expressed at all developmental periods (the bud, early flowering, late flowering and mature stages) and their expression level peaked in the early flowering stage in the stem. Drought stress augmented and accelerated lignin accumulation in high-lignin plants but delayed it in low-lignin plants. The expression levels of BnCOMT1s were generally reduced in water deficit condition. The desynchrony of the accumulation processes of total lignin and BnCOMT1s transcripts in most growth stages indicated that BnCOMT1s could be responsible for the synthesis of a specific subunit of lignin or that they participate in other pathways such as the melatonin biosynthesis pathway.

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<![CDATA[Effects of Rhamnolipid and Microbial Inoculants on the Vermicomposting of Green Waste with Eisenia fetida]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc8cd

The effects of adding the biosurfactant rhamnolipid, the lignolytic and cellulolytic fungus Phanerochete chrysosporium, and the free-living nitrogen-fixing bacterium Azotobacter chrococcum on vermicomposting of green waste with Eisenia fetida was investigated. The addition of rhamnolipid and/or either microorganism alone or in all combinations significantly increased E. fetida growth rate, the number of E. fetida juveniles and cocoons, the population densities of cellulolytic fungi and Azotobacter bacteria, and cellulase and urease activities in the vermicomposts. The quality of the final vermicompost (in terms of electrical conductivity, nutrient content, C/N ratio, humic acid content, lignin and cellulose contents, and phytotoxicity to germinating seeds) was enhanced by addition of rhamnolipid and/or microorganisms. The physical characteristics of vermicomposts produced with rhamnolipid and/or microorganisms were acceptable for agricultural application. The best quality vermicompost was obtained with the combined addition of P. chrysosporium, A. chrococcum, and rhamnolipid.

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<![CDATA[Decomposition of recalcitrant carbon under experimental warming in boreal forest]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5fab0ee8fa60be110d

Over the long term, soil carbon (C) storage is partly determined by decomposition rate of carbon that is slow to decompose (i.e., recalcitrant C). According to thermodynamic theory, decomposition rates of recalcitrant C might differ from those of non-recalcitrant C in their sensitivities to global warming. We decomposed leaf litter in a warming experiment in Alaskan boreal forest, and measured mass loss of recalcitrant C (lignin) vs. non-recalcitrant C (cellulose, hemicellulose, and sugars) throughout 16 months. We found that these C fractions responded differently to warming. Specifically, after one year of decomposition, the ratio of recalcitrant C to non-recalcitrant C remaining in litter declined in the warmed plots compared to control. Consistent with this pattern, potential activities of enzymes targeting recalcitrant C increased with warming, relative to those targeting non-recalcitrant C. Even so, mass loss of individual C fractions showed that non-recalcitrant C is preferentially decomposed under control conditions whereas recalcitrant C losses remain unchanged between control and warmed plots. Moreover, overall mass loss was greater under control conditions. Our results imply that direct warming effects, as well as indirect warming effects (e.g. drying), may serve to maintain decomposition rates of recalcitrant C compared to non-recalcitrant C despite negative effects on overall decomposition.

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<![CDATA[Forest Gaps Alter the Total Phenol Dynamics in Decomposing Litter in an Alpine Fir Forest]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9dfab0ee8fa60b69039

The total phenol content in decomposing litter not only acts as a crucial litter quality indicator, but is also closely related to litter humification due to its tight absorption to clay particles. However, limited attention has been focused on the total phenol dynamics in foliar litter in relation to forest gaps. Here, the foliar litter of six representative tree species was incubated on the forest floor from the gap center to the closed canopy of an alpine Minjiang fir (Abies faxoniana) forest in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and eastern Tibetan Plateau. The dynamics of total phenol concentration in the incubated litter was measured from November 2012 to October 2014. Over two-year incubation, 78.22% to 94.06% of total phenols were lost from the foliar litter, but 52.08% to 86.41% of this occurred in the first year. Forest gaps accelerated the loss of total phenols in the foliar litter in the winter, although they inhibited the loss of total phenols during the growing season in the first year. In comparison with the effects of forest gaps, the variations of litter quality among different species were much stronger on the dynamics of total phenols in the second year. Overall, the loss of total phenols in the foliar litter was slightly higher in both the canopy gap and the expanded gap than in the gap center and under the closed canopy. The results suggest that the predicted decline in snow cover resulting from winter warming or vanishing gaps caused by forest regeneration will retard the loss of total phenol content in the foliar litter of alpine forest ecosystems, especially in the first decomposition year.

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