Seminar: Real-Time Imaging of Plant Cell Wall Nanoscale Architecture and Biodegradation

Thursday July 7th, 2016
CAWP 2916

Dr. Shi-You Ding
Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University
“Real-Time Imaging of Plant Cell Wall Nanoscale Architecture and Biodegradation”


Plant-derived lignocellulosic biomass consists primarily of the plant cell walls, which, in addition to starch, comprises a major carbon-sink product of plant photosynthesis. In agriculture, starch is a storage product used as a food source, whereas the structural biomass is treated as a waste or low-value by-product. Today lignocellulosic plant biomass is considered a promising renewable source for producing biofuels and biomaterials to replace significantly the use of diminishing fossil fuel and to meet
increasing consumer demand for green chemicals.  However, the plant cell walls from different plant species and different tissue types vary in their structure and chemical composition, which in turn become the major characteristics that hinder chemical or biological processes at the industrial scale for converting biomass to biofuels and biomaterials. In this talk, I shall give an update of our research on the nanoscale architecture of the plant cell walls in native plant and genetically engineered energy crops, as well as their structural and chemical changes during thermochemical pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis, by means of imaging techniques including atomic force microscopy and microspectroscopy, such as stimulated Raman  scattering microscopy. I shall focus on the discussion of how these physicochemical features in the plant cell walls affect biomass deconstruction process for biofuels production.