Green Specialists (James) – University of Copenhagen

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Copenhagen Plant Science Centre > Meet the Scientists > Mathias' group > Green Specialists (James)

Green Specialists

Plants are potentially useful production platforms for a range of chemicals including compounds that may be highly toxic to microorganisms, and secondary metabolites that may have energetically demanding biosynthetic pathways or require sophisticated functionalization reactions available in plants. To-date, plant engineering has mostly focused on systemic engineering of the whole plant or whole organs (such as roots).

The extensive repertoire of specialized plant organs and specific cell types within those organs offers a distinct advantage over unicellular organisms. Highly engineered production cells could potentially be developed within a wild-type support system, allowing high yield production of energy-demanding, complex, or toxic secondary metabolites. This concept is similar to how the leaves, stems, and roots of an orange tree can divert energy and carbon into producing valuable fruit, but the orange fruit cannot grow on its own without this support system.

The Green Specialists project aims to develop methods for creating highly engineered subpopulations of cells within plant tissues.