Plant surface lipid biosynthetic pathways and their utility for metabolic engineering of waxes and hydrocarbon biofuels
Article first published online: 9 MAY 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
The Plant Journal
Volume 54, Issue 4, pages 670–683, May 2008
How to Cite
Jetter, R. and Kunst, L. (2008), Plant surface lipid biosynthetic pathways and their utility for metabolic engineering of waxes and hydrocarbon biofuels. The Plant Journal, 54: 670–683. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03467.x
- Issue published online: 9 MAY 2008
- Article first published online: 9 MAY 2008
- Received 28 November 2007; revised 8 February 2008; accepted 13 February 2008.
- cuticular waxes;
- fatty acid elongation;
- chain lengths;
- industrial products
Due to their unique physical properties, waxes are high-value materials that are used in a variety of industrial applications. They are generated by chemical synthesis, extracted from fossil sources, or harvested from a small number of plant and animal species. As a result, the diversity of chemical structures in commercial waxes is low and so are their yields. These limitations can be overcome by engineering of wax biosynthetic pathways in the seeds of high-yielding oil crops to produce designer waxes for specific industrial end uses. In this review, we first summarize the current knowledge regarding the genes and enzymes generating the chemical diversity of cuticular waxes that accumulate at the surfaces of primary plant organs. We then consider the potential of cuticle biosynthetic genes for biotechnological wax production, focusing on selected examples of wax ester chain lengths and isomers. Finally, we discuss the genes/enzymes of cuticular alkane biosynthesis and their potential in future metabolic engineering of plants for the production of renewable hydrocarbon fuels.