Overexpression of a gibberellin 20-oxidase gene in poplar xylem led to an increase in the size of nanocellulose fibrils and improved paper properties

Xiaopeng Peng, Botong Tong, Jongcheol Lee, Kun Wang, Xiaojuan Yu, Xiong Huang, Jialong Wen, Mohamadamin Makarem, Hongying Pang, Subin Hinjan, Xiaojing Yan, Shuangquan Yao, Fachuang Lu, Baichen Wang, Feng Peng, John Ralph, Seong H. Kim, Ronald R. Sederoff, Quanzi Li

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2 Scopus citations


Cellulose, the major component of secondary cell walls, is the most abundant renewable long-chain polymer on earth. Nanocellulose has become a prominent nano-reinforcement agent for polymer matrices in various industries. We report the generation of transgenic hybrid poplar overexpressing the Arabidopsis gibberellin 20-oxidase1 gene driven by a xylem-specific promoter to increase gibberellin (GA) biosynthesis in wood. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and sum frequency generation spectroscopic (SFG) analyses showed that cellulose in transgenic trees was less crystalline, but the crystal size was larger. The nanocellulose fibrils prepared from transgenic wood had an increased size compared to those from wild type. When such fibrils were used as a reinforcing agent in sheet paper preparation, the mechanical strength of the paper was significantly enhanced. Engineering the GA pathway can therefore affect nanocellulose properties, providing a new strategy for expanding nanocellulose applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number120959
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
StatePublished - Aug 15 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

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