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Exogenous application of rosmarinic acid improves saccharification without affecting growth and lignification of maize

Bevilaqua, Jennifer Munik, Finger-Teixeira, Aline, Marchiosi, Rogério, Oliveira, Dyoni Matias de, Joia, Breno Miguel, Ferro, Ana Paula, Parizotto, Ângela Valderrama, dos Santos, Wanderley Dantas, Ferrarese-Filho, Osvaldo
Plant physiology and biochemistry 2019 v.142 pp. 275-282
Zea mays, biomass, cell walls, corn, enzymatic hydrolysis, ethanol production, lignification, lignin, phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, plant growth, polysaccharides, roots, rosmarinic acid, saccharification, stems
Biomimetically incorporated into the lignin structure, rosmarinic acid improves in vitro maize cell wall saccharification; however, no in planta studies have been performed. We hypothesized that rosmarinic acid, itself, could inducer saccharification without disturbing plant growth. Its effects on growth, enzymes of the phenylpropanoid pathway, lignin, monomeric composition, and saccharification of maize were evaluated. In a short-term (24 h) exposure, rosmarinic acid caused deleterious effects on maize roots, inhibiting the first enzymes of the phenylpropanoid pathway, phenylalanine ammonia-lyase and tyrosine ammonia-lyase, altering lignin composition and slightly increasing saccharification. In a long-term (14 d) exposure, rosmarinic acid increased saccharification of maize stems by about 50% without any deleterious effects on plant growth, the phenylpropanoid pathway and lignin formation. This demonstrated that exogenous application of rosmarinic acid on maize plants improved saccharification, and represented an interesting approach in facilitating enzymatic hydrolysis of biomass polysaccharides and increasing bioethanol production.