BMC Biotechnol. 2022 Aug 30;22(1):24. doi: 10.1186/s12896-022-00753-7.
BACKGROUND: The metabolic engineering of high-biomass crops for lipid production in their vegetative biomass has recently been proposed as a strategy to elevate energy density and lipid yields for biodiesel production. Energycane and sugarcane are highly polyploid, interspecific hybrids between Saccharum officinarum and Saccharum spontaneum that differ in the amount of ancestral contribution to their genomes. This results in greater biomass yield and persistence in energycane, which makes it the preferred target crop for biofuel production.
RESULTS: Here, we report on the hyperaccumulation of triacylglycerol (TAG) in energycane following the overexpression of the lipogenic factors Diacylglycerol acyltransferase1-2 (DGAT1-2) and Oleosin1 (OLE1) in combination with RNAi suppression of SUGAR-DEPENDENT1 (SDP1) and Trigalactosyl diacylglycerol1 (TGD1). TAG accumulated up to 1.52% of leaf dry weight (DW,) a rate that was 30-fold that of non-modified energycane, in addition to almost doubling the total fatty acid content in leaves to 4.42% of its DW. Pearson’s correlation analysis showed that the accumulation of TAG had the highest correlation with the expression level of ZmDGAT1-2, followed by the level of RNAi suppression for SDP1.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report on the metabolic engineering of energycane and demonstrates that this resilient, high-biomass crop is an excellent target for the further optimization of the production of lipids from vegetative tissues.