Biotechnology and Molecular Biology Reviews

  • Abbreviation: Biotechnol. Mol. Biol. Rev.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1538-2273
  • DOI: 10.5897/BMBR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 102


Cellulose-hemicellulose networks as target for in planta modification of the properties of natural fibres

Olawole O. Obembe*, Evert Jacobsen, Richard G.F. Visser, and Jean-Paul Vincken
Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences, Laboratory of Plant Breeding, Wageningen University P O Box 386, 6700 AJ Wageningen, The Netherlands
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 07 September 2006
  •  Published: 30 September 2006


Plant cell wall polysaccharides are predominant components of fibres. Natural fibres have a wide range of industrial applications, such as in paper and textile industries. Furthermore, their demand for use as bio-composites in building and automotive applications is also increasing. For the various applications, a gain of control over fibre characteristics is important. Inherent fibre characteristics are largely determined by the ratio and interactions of cellulose and hemicelluloses. Two main strategies for bioengineering fibre properties are reviewed: (i) modifying the cellulose/hemicellulose ratio (by biosynthesis or biodegradation of specific polysaccharides), and (ii) interference with cellulose-hemicellulose interactions using carbohydrate-binding modules. These in planta approaches may have the potential of complementing the currently used surface modification approaches for modifying fibre characteristics.


Key words: natural fibre, cellulose, hemicellulose, interactions, cell wall modification, carbohydrate binding module, cellulose synthase