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Wednesday 1 September, 2010

    

Achieving quality III: Tree biology for multiple uses

Chair: Stefan Jansson, Umea, SE

Natural variation in Aspen

How do these trees know it is autumn?  Gene sequencing outcome shows that there is high diversity in the Swedish Aspen populations - senescence being only one trait that varies widely according to C and N levels in the soils.

 

 

 

  • Wout Boerjan, VIB, Ghent, BE

Engineering lignin biosynthesis for biofuels

Bioethanol from corn starch is currently normal practice. Willows and poplars are now being considered as 2nd generation biofuels since of the dry biomass from the plants - 75% is sugars.

 

 

 

  • Tomas Vanek, Prague, CZ

Plant biotechnology for the removal of organic and metal pollutants and toxic metals from waste waters and contaminated sites

Tomas described the various methods employed in the Czech Republic to remove, contain and render harmless undesirable production chemicals -including Uranium and explosives materials - dumped into the environment.

 

 

  • Hely Haeggman, University of Oulu, FI

Biosafety of genetically modified forest trees - specific emphasis on biological interactions

The research presented involved studying interactions of transgenic trees with insect herbivores and ectomycorrhizal fungi. 

 

 

 

Achieving quality IV: From metabolites and recombinant proteins to plant-made-pharmaceuticals

Chair; Maurice Moloney, Rothamsted Research, UK

Oilseed-based biopharmaceutical production: from clone to clinic

25% of the prescription drugs dispensed in the United States contain at least one active ingredient derived from plant material. Results from the ensuing research studies support the potential for using plant-based production to meet the rising global demand for human insulin.

  •  Kazuki Saito, Yokohama, JP

Omics-based understanding of biosynthetic systems of plant specialised products

Kazuki described the necessity of functional genomics for chemical diversity (phytochemical genomics) in vast unexplored species regarding their chemical constituents and activities. He also presented their website: http://prime.psc.riken.jp/ - which is a PRIMe website providing metabolome-based systems biology tools and databases.

  • Eva Stoger, Vienna, AT

Human anti-HIV1 antibodies in plants

Eva presented PharmaPlanta's mission to develop efficient and safe strategies for the production of clinical-grade protein pharmaceuticals in plants and to define procedures and methods for the production of these proteins in compliance with all appropriate regulations.

  • Werner Roos, Martin Luther University, DE

Plant secondary metabolism - treasure and a burden

Werner reminded us that the forces of evolution have generated hundreds of thousands of plant secondary metabolites, making plants the most creative chemists on earth. He exemplified the various mechanisms plants have developed to selectively overproduce specialised compounds and to avoid self-intoxication.

 

 

Achieving quality V: Plants with improved nutritional quality and value

Chair: Bruce Osborne, Dublin, IE

Novel crops and novel traits

Bruce opened the session with a number of questions: why do we need novel crops/novel traits? What are the problems with commercially available germplasm? Which crops and which traits should be examined?

 

 

 

  • Riitta Puupponen-Pimia VTT, FI

Therapeutically active berry compounds -effects on human health in clinical intervention

There are almost 40 edible berries available in Finland - some of which have been used therapeutically under folklore practices - but most of the berry species still remain underutilised. 

 

 

  •  Michal Oren-Shamir, Volcani Centre, IL

Stability and degradation of anthocyanins in fruit and ornamentals

Michal showed the first proof of active in planta anthocyanin degradation
in Brunfelsia.

 

 

 

  • Jan K. Schjoerring, University of Copenhagen, DK

Enhanced content and bioavailability of Fe and Zn in the endosperm of seeds from rice plants over-expressing nicotianamine synthase

 Jan looked at quantifying how Zn and Fe are distributed in the rice grain and how development of analytical methods for identification of the dominating ligands controlling Fe and Zn speciation progressed.

 

 

Achieving quality II: From photosynthesis to solar fuels

Chair: Eva-Mari Aro, Turku, FI

Trends and breakthroughs on photosynthesis and solar fuels- news from the China congress, August 2010

Eva discussed the need for further solar cell technology to be developed. She described the work done by Michael Gratzel on photovltaic cells that mimic photosynthesis. 

 

 

 

  • Kazimierz Strzalka

Role of lipids in the molecular mechanism of photoprotection of the photosynthetic machinery by violaxanthin de-epoxidation

Kazimierz discussed the fact that excessive light may destroy photosynthesis in plants. 

 

 

 

  • Olivier Voinnet - Keynote speaker

Cell to cell movement of RNA Silencing Signals

Those who thought there is not much more news on plant gene silencing to come are once more wrong! In an exciting key note at the end of the EPSO conference, Olivier shed light on the long chased secret of the “silencing signal” which spreads through plasmodesmata from cell-to-cell or even long distance through the phloem.  


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EPSO is an independent academic organisation currently representing 61 institutional members bringing together more than 204 research institutes, departments and universities from 29 countries in Europe and beyond.