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Supercomputer unlocks the secrets of plant cells to create more resilient crops

Scientists from he Universities of Melbourne and Queensland and IBM Research have moved a step closer to identifying the nanostructure of cellulose – the basic structural component of plant cell walls that provide fibre in our diet. The insights could pave the way for more disease resistant varieties of crops and increase the sustainability of the pulp, paper and fibre industry – one of the main uses of cellulose.

Scientists from he Universities of Melbourne and Queensland and IBM Research have moved a step closer to identifying the nanostructure of cellulose – the basic structural component of plant cell walls that provide fibre in our diet. The insights could pave the way for more disease resistant varieties of crops and increase the sustainability of the pulp, paper and fibre industry – one of the main uses of cellulose.
 

Tapping into IBM's supercomputing power, researchers have been able to model the structure and dynamics of cellulose at the molecular level.

 

Dr Monika Doblin, Research Fellow and Deputy Node Leader at the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne said cellulose is a vital part of the plant's structure, but its synthesis is yet to be fully understood.

 

"It's difficult to work on cellulose synthesis in vitro because once plant cells are broken open, most of the enzyme activity is lost, so we needed to find other approaches to study how it is made," Dr Doblin said.


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-05-supercomputer-secrets-cells-resilient-crops.html#jCp

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