University Of Georgia Researchers Will Reengineer Poplar

A multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Georgia and two partner institutions have been awarded a $15.8 million grant over five years from the U.S. Dept. of Energy to reengineer poplar trees to be used as a sustainable energy source.

The researchers will use state-of the-art biotechnology approaches to breed the trees as a multipurpose crop that can be used for bioenergy, biomaterial and bioproduct alternatives to petroleum-based materials.

“Poplars are among the fastest growing trees in the United States and are important for both carbon sequestration and global carbon cycling,” says Robin Buell, principal investigator on the grant and the GRA Eminent Scholar Chair in Crop Genomics at the Center for Applied Genetic Technologies in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

The team will start by measuring mRNA transcripts in single cells—mRNA transcripts are portable strands of RNA that encapsulate the information contained in a gene —and will look at how the 3D DNA changes in single cells. From this, they will create a cell type-specific gene expression and regulatory map of poplar that will provide new information on gene function.

Ultimately, the project aims to fabricate new types of poplar through genetic modification.

“What we propose is to genetically engineer poplar to make it a multipurpose crop by changing its architecture and engineering it to produce different things in the leaves and wood,” Buell says, adding that the team will try to engineer several different types of poplar trees in the study to take advantage of different plant materials—such as the wood or the leaves—for different uses.

Through biotechnology, plant materials harvested from the reengineered architecture of the tree will be used to create products that have the potential to replace petroleum-based products.

Latest news

Arizona Operation Changes Names

Arizona-based NewLife Forest Products has rebranded itself as Restoration Forest Products, LLC (RFOR). In addition to the name change, the company announced changes to its senior leadership team. “The new name more accurately represents what we do,” comments Ted Dergousoff, CEO of Restoration Forest Products, LLC…

Biomass Methane Plant Approved In Interior BC

REN Energy International Corp (REN Energy) has received approval from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary for the development of its renewable natural gas (RNG) facility in Fruitvale, British Columbia. According to REN Energy officials, the project will break ground in early 2023. The plant includes a production facility that will create…

Active Energy Appoints Interim CFO

Active Energy, an international biomass based renewable energy business, is pleased to announce that Michelle Fagan has, as of November 23, 2022, been appointed as interim Chief Financial Officer and joined the Company’s senior management team. Fagan’s role will initially be in a non-Board capacity…

Find Us On Social

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Wood Bioenergy News Online hits the inboxes of subscribers in the wood-to-energy sectors.


Wood Bioenergy is published and delivered worldwide 6 times per year. Free to qualified readers in the U.S. Subscribers outside the U.S. are asked to pay a small fee.


Complete the online form so we can direct you to the appropriate Sales Representative.