Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Kuhar, P. S. 2014. Characterization of Genetically Modified High Biomass Producing Tobacco Plant. Digital Commons@University of Nebraska-Lincoln 1(1): 6-58.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Deepak R. Keshwani. Lincoln, Nebraska: July 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Pankaj S. Kuhar


Global warming and peak oil has clouded our energy security. In light of this situation, bioethanol as emerged as one of the most amenable solutions to the problem. However bioethanol has its own shortcomings and transgenics seem imperative to exploit its full potential. A high biomass producing line in transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum cv. Xanthi) was identified during a routine genetic transformation, termed giant recombinant (GR). To characterize the phenotype of the giant line, growth rate and lignocellulosic composition was analyzed relative to the non-transgenic control line. The GR line accounted for 240% more biomass than the untransformed line within 135 days of its germination. Furthermore, there were significant differences in chemical composition within GR line relative to a control line. The GR characteristics are likely due to disruption or activation of an unknown plant gene. Identification of the GR gene responsible for increased biomass productivity could lead to improvement of other plant species to develop feed-stocks for bio-based energy.

Advisor: Deepak R. Keshwani