Prof. dr. Peter Deuss of ENTEG, professor of Catalytic Processing of Sustainable Resources, is partner in a consortium that has received 2,5 M€ by NWO Science-XL. The consortium, leaded by Prof. dr. R. Offringa from Leiden University will investigate why plants develop wood and lignin in their stems.
Plants can be divided into woody and non‐woody species. The stems of woody species thicken through development of wood, a tissue with cells having a high lignin content in their cell walls. Also ,non‐woody species produce cells with lignin deposits. This consortium brings together scientists from diverse research fields to investigate i) which genes drive wood and lignin formation, ii) if increased wood/lignin production in stems makes plants more drought tolerant and iii) which effect this has on lignin structure and whether this allows a sustainable method to harvest high value lignin from waste streams of food crops.
In Deuss’ group a PhD will study the effect increase woodiness/lignification that leads to drought resistance has on lignin structure and whether this allows a sustainable method to harvest high value lignin from waste streams of food crops. The activities include creating a model of the ‘ideal secondary cell wall’ predicting key structural and/or chemical features that promote good crop yield and drought resistance, while allowing good processability in terms of obtaining high quality lignin together with valuable carbohydrates for the biobased economy. At ENTEG the goal of the PhD research is to establish links between cell-wall and lignin structure and ease of separation of lignin from the other biomass components as well as testing these lignin as feedstock for bio-based chemicals and materials.
NWO Science XL
The NWO Domain Board Science has approved 21 grant applications in the Open Competition Domain Science-XL programme. The topics vary from studying the coronavirus Achilles’ heel to learning about danger through the experiences of others. Together, the projects have been granted about 60 million euros. Curiosity-driven, fundamental research is necessary for innovations that make society economically successful and socially resilient. The ENW XL-grant gives researchers the opportunity and freedom to start, strengthen or expand excellent, challenging and innovative lines of research.
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