ChBE Seminar Series: Jorg Schwender
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Room 2110 Chemical and Nuclear Eng. Bldg.
Professor Ganesh Sriram
Quantitative Analysis and Modeling of Plant Central Metabolism and Storage Compound Synthesis
Presented by Jorg Schwender
Department of Biology
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Plant produced biomass is the basis for human and animal nutrition as well as of increasing importance as a renewable source of chemical industrial feedstocks. Seed storage compounds such as lipids, proteins and carbohydrates typically make up most of the mass of mature seeds, and the proportions of these components have large species specific variation. Seed composition and yield are important traits but it is poorly understood how the proportions of the major storage products are biosynthetically controlled. In order to understand mechanisms of carbon allocation into different storage compounds we study the highly connected central metabolism network. The transformation of maternal carbon supplies to storage products is analyzed by growing developing seeds of the oil crop Brassica napus in liquid culture. In vivo pathway usage is quantified by use of carbon-13 tracers and metabolic flux analysis. This analysis has revealed in part unexpected functionality of individual biochemical reactions. In order to study the systemic properties of the central metabolism network, metabolic adjustments of developing embryos to different carbon and nitrogen sources as well as to genetic mutation are explored.