U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Study Provides Insights on Maximizing Energy-Rich Lipid Content in Leaves
Published: July 29, 2010
Posted: October 01, 2010

Energy-rich lipids—with two times more energy than carbohydrates or proteins—are life’s primary molecules for energy storage. Preventing the breakdown of lipids as leaves age during the process of senescence is estimated to increase the energy content of leaves by about 20%. GLBRC researchers systematically studied the age-dependent changes in the fatty acids of Arabidopsis, Brachypodium distachyon (a model grass), and switchgrass leaves during natural plant senescence. Researchers found that surface lipids were more stable during senescence than membrane lipids, thus a potential strategy for increasing the energy content of biofuel crops might be to enhance surface lipid production.

Reference: This research was reported in Yang, Z., and J. B. Ohlrogge. 2009. “Turnover of Fatty Acids During Natural Senescence of Arabidopsis, Brachypodium, and Switchgrass and in Arabidopsis ?-Oxidation Mutants,” Plant Physiology 150, 1981–89.

Contact: John Houghton, SC-23.2, (301) 903-8288
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Plant Systems and Feedstocks, Plant-Microbe Interactions
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC)

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

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