Recently a team of researchers from the Molecular Biology Lab, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Dhaka has won the 2nd Transformers Roadshow,2018 award organized by Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). As one of the three winning team it received USD 3,000 from IsDB President Dr. Bandar M H Hajjar in the presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The title of their project which won the award was, ‘Value addition to jute: Artificial reduction of lignin in jute can be a potential source of textile fiber, bio-fuel and raw material for paper-pulp industry’.
Members of the research team included Mousumi Nath, Farhana Tasnim Chowdhury, Farhana Shafrin. The team leader was Dr. Haseena Khan, Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Dhaka.
Jute is considered a national cash crop for its immense importance in our economy. Agro-base, renewable and biodegradable nature together with low-cost availability puts jute at an advantage. Potential high yield of cellulose biomass per acre is another reason for increased global interest on jute. Textile and paper industries are interested in its potential as an important ingredient for producing paper and fine textiles. As with other lingocellulosic plants the drawback of jute when used as a source for such purposes is the abundance of lignin polymer that renders the plant material almost inaccessible for downstream processes. The amount of lignin in jute makes it coarse and impedes use of the same as a textile fiber. A project to down regulate lignin biosynthesis in jute has resulted in significant decrease in the lignin content (Shafrin et al 2015, Shafrin et al 2016).
In this backdrop, the project aims to assess if the lower lignin content in these plants is effective in increasing the quality and cellulose content of the fiber, and also to assess if there is a decrease in the recalcitrance to glucose release. These would make jute suitable as a source for bio-fuel, paper and pulp as well as other industrial purposes.
Altogether, this project would explore the beneficial effects of lignin reduction with a goal to produce quality jute leading to value addition to this important cash crop.
1. Shafrin, F., Das, S. S., Sanan-Mishra, N., & Khan, H. (2015). Artificial miRNA-mediated down-regulation of two monolignoid biosynthetic genes (C3H and F5H) causes reduction in lignin content in jute. Plant Molecular Biology, 89(4-5), 511-527
2. Shafrin, F., Ferdous, A. S., Sarkar, S. K., Ahmed, R., Hossain, K., Sarker, M.,& Khan, H. (2017). Modification of monolignol biosynthetic pathway in jute: different gene, different consequence. Scientific Reports, 7, 39984