Sorghum mutant RG displays antithetic leaf shoot lignin accumulation resulting in improved stem saccharification properties

Carloalberto Petti, Anne E. Harman-Ware, Mizuki Tateno, Rekha Kushwaha, Andrew Shearer, A. Bruce Downie, Mark Crocker, Seth Debolt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: Improving saccharification efficiency in bioenergy crop species remains an important challenge. Here, we report the characterization of a Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) mutant, named REDforGREEN (RG), as a bioenergy feedstock. Results: It was found that RG displayed increased accumulation of lignin in leaves and depletion in the stems, antithetic to the trend observed in wild type. Consistent with these measurements, the RG leaf tissue displayed reduced saccharification efficiency whereas the stem saccharification efficiency increased relative to wild type. Reduced lignin was linked to improved saccharification in RG stems, but a chemical shift to greater S:G ratios in RG stem lignin was also observed. Similarities in cellulose content and structure by XRD-analysis support the correlation between increased saccharification properties and reduced lignin instead of changes in the cellulose composition and/or structure. Conclusion: Antithetic lignin accumulation was observed in the RG mutant leaf-and stem-tissue, which resulted in greater saccharification efficiency in the RG stem and differential thermochemical product yield in high lignin leaves. Thus, the red leaf coloration of the RG mutant represents a potential marker for improved conversion of stem cellulose to fermentable sugars in the C4 grass Sorghum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the grant (EFRI-0937657) from the National Science Foundation: Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) program (SD, MC). The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture, Biomass Research and Development Initiative Grant #2011-10006-30363 (MT, SD).


  • Biofuel
  • Cell wall
  • Lignin
  • Lignocellulose
  • Phenylpropanoid
  • Sorghum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Energy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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