Ever wonder what makes plants strong and sturdy? Results recently published in the journal Science Advances used a technique called solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (ssNMR) to dive deep into the structure of plant cell walls. These walls, found in materials like wood, are made up of cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin – but how they interact in detail has been a mystery until now.
Through ssNMR, researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have unveiled the hidden architecture of these cell walls, revealing how these components fit together and influence each other’s properties.
The researcher quantitatively defined the relative positioning and arrangement of the polymers in Populus wood and created a computer model to visualize the findings. The stunning 3D models for these structures, make it easier to appreciate the intricate interplay.
The results not only shed light on how plants build their cell walls, but they also have exciting implications for creating better biofuels and improving materials made from plant fibers.
#Bioengineering #Cellwall #Wood #Biopolymers #Biomacromolecules #Sustainability #SciComm #PlantScience #NationalRenewableRnergyLaboratory
Bennett Addison et al., Atomistic, macromolecular model of the Populus secondary cell wall informed by solid-state NMR. Sci. Adv. 10, eadi7965 (2024). DOI:10.1126/sciadv.adi7965
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