Sustainable Production of the Cyanophycin Biopolymer in Tobacco in the Greenhouse and Field

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The production of biodegradable polymers as coproducts of other commercially relevant plant components can be a sustainable strategy to decrease the carbon footprint and increase the commercial value of a plant. The biodegradable polymer cyanophycin granular polypeptide (CGP) was expressed in the leaves of a commercial tobacco variety, whose seeds can serve as a source for biofuel and feed. In T0 generation in the greenhouse, up to 11% of the leaf dry weight corresponded to the CGP. In T1 generation, the maximum content decreased to approximately 4% dw, both in the greenhouse and first field trial. In the field, a maximum harvest of 4 g CGP/plant could be obtained. Independent of the CGP content, most transgenic plants exhibited a slight yield penalty in the leaf biomass, especially under stress conditions in greenhouse and field trials. After the harvest, the leaves were either Sun dried or ensiled. The resulting material was used to evaluate the extraction of CGP compared to that in the laboratory protocol. The farm-level analysis indicates that the extraction of CGP from tobacco plants can provide alternative income opportunities for tobacco farmers. The CGP yield/ha indicates that the CGP production in plants can be economically feasible depending on the cultivation and extraction costs. Moreover, we analyzed the consumer acceptance of potential applications associated with GM tobacco in four European countries (Germany, Finland, Italy and the Netherlands) and found unexpectedly high acceptance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number896863
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 13.06.2022
Event4th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Plant Molecular Farming - ISPMF 2021 - virtual, International
Duration: 28.09.202129.09.2021
Conference number: 4

Bibliographical note

This article is part of the research topic: Proceedings of the 4th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Plant Molecular Farming

This publication is part of the project Sustainable Co-Production [053.80.738] of the research programme [ERA-Net Cofund Action under the research and innovation programme Horizon 2020] “Tobacco as sustainable production platform of the natural biopolymer cyanophycin as co-product to oil and protein,” which is partly financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), the German Federal Ministry for education and research (BMBF) and by the Argentine government

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Huckauf, Brandt, Dezar, Nausch, Hauerwaas, Weisenfeld, Elshiewy, Rua, Hugenholtz, Wesseler, Cingiz and Broer.

    Research areas

  • Management studies - cost benefit analysis, market analysis, consumer acceptance
  • Biology - cyanophycin, plant made industrials, sustainable production, field trial, isolation