Manipulation of carbon partitioning to enhance the value of sugarcane (2016–2019)
Sugarcane is a highly efficient crop for the capture of carbon in plant biomass. Sugarcane stores carbon as sucrose (sugar) and in cell walls. The biochemical and molecular genetic control of carbon partitioning into the major components of sugarcane biomass will be investigated using genomic and metabolomic tools. Key genetic controls of sucrose, cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin biosynthesis will be identified. The composition of sugarcane biomass influences the value of sugarcane by determining the yield of sugar and other co-products and the efficiency of their extraction or production. Strategies for genetic selection of sugarcane genotypes with enhanced content of sucrose and other desirable biomass components will be established.