Potential of genetically engineered hybrid poplar for pyrolytic production of bio-based phenolic compounds

Hilal E. Toraman, Ruben Vanholme, Eleonora Borén, Yumi Vanwonterghem, Marko R. Djokic, Guray Yildiz, Frederik Ronsse, Wolter Prins, Wout Boerjan, Kevin M. Van Geem, Guy B. Marin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Wild-type and two genetically engineered hybrid poplar lines were pyrolyzed in a micro-pyrolysis (Py-GC/MS) and a bench scale setup for fast and intermediate pyrolysis studies. Principal component analysis showed that the pyrolysis vapors obtained by micro-pyrolysis from wood of caffeic acid O-methyltransferase (COMT) and caffeoyl-CoA O-methyltransferase (CCoAOMT) down-regulated poplar trees differed significantly from the pyrolysis vapors obtained from non-transgenic control trees. Both fast micro-pyrolysis and intermediate pyrolysis of transgenic hybrid poplars showed that down-regulation of COMT can enhance the relative yield of guaiacyl lignin-derived products, while the relative yield of syringyl lignin-derived products was up to a factor 3 lower. This study indicates that lignin engineering via genetic modifications of genes involved in the phenylpropanoid and monolignol biosynthetic pathways can help to steer the pyrolytic production of guaiacyl and syringyl lignin-derived phenolic compounds such as guaiacol, 4-methylguaiacol, 4-ethylguaiacol, 4-vinylguaiacol, syringol, 4-vinylsyringol, and syringaldehyde present in the bio-oil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-236
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource technology
StatePublished - May 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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