Cells. 2023 Aug 8;12(16):2018. doi: 10.3390/cells12162018.
Production of biofuel from lignocellulosic biomass is relatively low due to the limited knowledge about natural cell wall loosening and cellulolytic processes in plants. Industrial separation of cellulose fiber mass from lignin, its saccharification and alcoholic fermentation is still cost-ineffective and environmentally unfriendly. Assuming that the green transformation is inevitable and that new sources of raw materials for biofuels are needed, we decided to study cell death-a natural process occurring in plants in the context of reducing the recalcitrance of lignocellulose for the production of second-generation bioethanol. “Members of the enzyme families responsible for lysigenous aerenchyma formation were identified during the root hypoxia stress in Arabidopsis thaliana cell death mutants. The cell death regulatory genes, LESION SIMULATING DISEASE 1 (LSD1), PHYTOALEXIN DEFICIENT 4 (PAD4) and ENHANCED DISEASE SUSCEPTIBILITY 1 (EDS1) conditionally regulate the cell wall when suppressed in transgenic aspen. During four years of growth in the field, the following effects were observed: lignin content was reduced, the cellulose fiber polymerization degree increased and the growth itself was unaffected. The wood of transgenic trees was more efficient as a substrate for saccharification, alcoholic fermentation and bioethanol production. The presented results may trigger the development of novel biotechnologies in the biofuel industry.