Join a science seminar presentation by PhD candidate Katrina Hodgson-Kratky, from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation at The University of Queensland on Wednesday 9 September between 10am and 11am.

Engineering sugarcane biomass for production of fuels and other bioproducts

Katrina Hodgson-Kratky, QAAFI

Meeting future demands for renewable fuels and other bioproducts is dependent on the use of lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks from highly productive crops such as sugarcane. However, the rigid and highly cross-linked cell wall impedes the efficient breakdown of biomass into fermentable sugars. Developing sugarcane varieties with altered biomass composition is vital for improving the efficiency of enzymatically hydrolyzing cellulose into glucose. With the aim of identifying the major biomass components that influence cell wall recalcitrance, enzymatic hydrolysis efficiency was measured in pretreated leaf and culm tissues of sugarcane genotypes that varied in fiber composition. The strongest negative associations with hydrolysis efficiency were observed for acid-insoluble lignin content, syringyl to guaiacyl (S/G) ratio and xylan content while acid-soluble lignin had a strong positive influence indicating that these traits should be the key focus for breeding. To accelerate the development of new sugarcane varieties, the genes controlling S/G ratio were investigated by sequencing the transcriptome of genotypes that had contrasting values for the trait. Over 2000 differentially expressed transcripts and single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with S/G ratio were identified. These represent promising gene targets and markers that may be useful for developing sugarcane varieties with improved enzymatic hydrolysis efficiency.

About the presenter: 

Katrina Hodgson-Kratky is PhD candidate under the supervision of Professor Robert Henry and Dr Frikkie Botha with the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation at the University of Queensland. Her work investigates the traits determining the efficiency of producing ethanol and other bioproducts from sugarcane biomass. Prior to her PhD, she completed a BSc in Plant Science and an MSc in Plant Breeding at the University of Guelph in Canada where she worked on increasing rubber content in dandelions. 

Grab a coffee and join us from your home or office via your computer or iPad. A recording will be available from the SRA and QAAFI websites after the event. 

Click here to join the science seminar presentation on Wednesday 9 September between 10:00 am and 11:00 am.

Research contact: Katrina Hodgson-Kratky, QAAFI PhD candidate, Centre for Crop Science, UQ E:

Seminar contacts: Brad Pfeffer, Sugar Research Australia, E or Carolyn Martin, QAAFI Communications E: M: 0439 399 886. 

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