Seed World

Scientists Reveal New Insight on the Molecular Structure of Plants

Scientists from IBM Research in partnership with Australian researchers have moved a step closer to identifying the nanostructure of cellulose — the basic structural component of plant cell walls.
Tapping into the IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer at the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative (VLSCI), researchers have been able to model the structure and dynamics of cellulose at the molecular level. 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 users of cellulose.
The work, which was described in a recent scientific paper published in Plant Physiology, represents a significant step towards our understanding of cellulose biosynthesis and how plant cell walls assemble and function. The research is part of a longer-term program to develop a 3D computer simulated model of the entire plant wall.
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