The overall objective of ENERGYPOPLAR is to design new poplar trees with enhanced agronomical traits for industrial production of bioethanol.

In order to  use poplar as a bioenergy short rotation coppice crop, suitable for large-scale deployment in Europe in areas unlikely to be used for food agricultural production, ENERGYPOPLAR will :

  1. Provide a better understanding of fundamental mechanisms determining optimised yield in Populus – identifying several important transcription factor and other candidate genes regulating yield, including nutrient uptake, in bioenergy poplar
  2. Understand mechanisms that regulate the synthesis of cell wall polysaccharides – improve cellulose content and alter lignin content and quality for improved saccharification
  3. Provide a better understanding of lignocellulosic quality and in particular the genetic and genomic basis of ‘high cellulose’ trees linked to alterations in the quality and quantity of lignin
  4. Develop high thoughput, cross-validated assays for lignocellulosic quality using Fourier Transform Infra Red spectroscopy (FTIR) and Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and lignocellulose saccharification potential
  5. Establish a platform for rapid gene discovery and testing using systems biology approaches to identify novel transcripts for traits of interest
  6. Bring the approaches identified in (1) – (5) together to develop a delivery pipeline for improved genotypes for ENERGYPOPLAR trees, with traits of interest and to begin the process of commercialisation
  7. Establish tools for environmental sustainability assessments of SRC Populus growing systems with respect to soil microbial diversity, GHG mitigation, water and other inputs relevant to a changing climate
  8. Disseminate the results and transfer technology to the energy industry, land-based sector and to appropriate policy makers

To achieve its goals, ENERGYPOPLAR will integrate an ambitious multidisciplinary approach (molecular, cellular, organismal, and community). In a coordinated and collaborative manner, it will leverage the efforts and resources developed at the international level in poplar development for biofuel production.




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