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Metabevo : understanding plant phenolic metabolism

Publication date: 09/02/15


Metabevo is a collaborative research project between Strasbourg and Freiburg’s institutes of advanced studies addressing the evolution of plant phenolic metabolism.
This plant metabolism leads to the synthesis of biopolymers such as lignin but also to the synthesis of antioxidants, of UV protection or defense molecules. The purpose is to find a way to regulate this production and enhance the synthesis of antioxidants with a nutraceutic or cosmetic interest, or, on the contrary, to block the synthesis of lignin which limits the production of biofuel. Danièle Werck-Reichhart, leader of the project and researcher in Strasbourg’s Institute of plant molecular biology, explains: “In Strasbourg, we study the biosynthesis of these compounds in higher plants, especially enzymes which catalyse the steps of oxidation in the metabolic pathway. We try to identify the genes involved, to understand their role and their development. We are experts in the analysis of enzymes’ functions and phenolic profiles. “ In Freiburg, Ralf Reski’s research team is internationally renowned for their work on moss’ genome, which they managed to sequence and annotate. “ Moss is an interesting model, as it is representative of plants’ transition from an aquatic habitat to a terrestrial one. One can easily generate mutant target genes, then observe the impact of these mutations on moss’ development and on the synthesis of phenolic compounds”, Danièle Werck-Reichhart clarifies.  


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