School of Biosciences
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Greg Tucker

Professor and Associate Dean (Science) of the Graduate School, Faculty of Science

Contact

  • workRoom C09 Bioenergy and Brewing Sciences Building
    Sutton Bonington Campus
    Sutton Bonington
    Leicestershire
    LE12 5RD
    UK
  • work0115 951 6126
  • fax0115 951 6122

Biography

Professor of Plant Biochemistry

My research is focused on the molecular biology of the plant cell wall and phytonutrients. In particular:

  • Breakdown of biomass to provide a feed stock for the production of biofuels and biorenewables
  • Extension of postharvest shelf life of fruit and vegetables by genetic, chemical or physical means
  • Effect of post-harvest handling and processing on the nutritional value of fruit and vegetables

Applications of this research include cell wall deconstruction during the production of sugars from biomass for the generation of biofuels such as ethanol. In this respect he is the Director of the lignocellulose to ethanol (LACE) programme at The University of Nottingham, which is part of the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre (BSBEC). Another application is in the control of softening during the ripening and senescence of fruit and vegetables. This degradation results in the deterioration and eventual wastage of the fruit and thus manipulation of this process, through the application of genetic modification or physiochemical means, provides a means of extending the shelf life of these commodities.

Expertise Summary

The major area of expertise is in the area of plant cell wall biochemistry and molecular biology. In particular the analysis of plant cell wall structure and composition and how this changes in response to external treatments such as high temperatures used for the pre treatment of biomass for bioenergy production or during plant developmental processes such as ripening.

Research Summary

The biochemistry and molecular biology of the plant cell wall.

The plant cell wall is responsible to a large extent in determining the shape and texture of the plant. It also represents the major source of biomass on the planet. My research is aimed at elucidating the structure of the plant cell wall and how this may be modified either biologically or by the application of physical and chemical processes. This fundamental research is carried out within the framework of two major applications

1. Improving the efficiency of bioenergy production by overcoming the inherent recalcitrance of the plant cell wall to digestion by hydrolases.

This involves a study of the mechanism of plant cell wall deconstruction during the production of sugars from biomass for the generation of biofuels such as ethanol. This research focuses on the fundamental understanding of the effect of "hydrothermal" processing on wheat straw and other potential biomass sources in terms of cell wall modifications and digestibility. In this respect he is the Director of the lignocellulose to ethanol (LACE) programme at The University of Nottingham, which is part of the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre (BSBEC).

2. Improving the Quality of Fruits and their Products: Shelf-life and Processing Qualities

Over softening is a major cause of loss during the transportation and marketing of fruit. This is particularly true for tropical fruits such as mango. Softening is largely due to degradation of the complex wall surrounding the fruit cells. The cell wall is also of major importance during the processing of fruit since it contributes to the cloud formation in juices and viscosity of pastes. Research is underway at Nottingham to investigate the molecular basis of softening in a wide range of fruit including tomato, melon, mango, citrus and strawberry.

In addition to the major research areas above my interests also include enhancing the Nutritional Quality of Fruits and their Products

Selected Publications

School of Biosciences

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Nr Loughborough
LE12 5RD, UK

For all enquiries please visit:
www.nottingham.ac.uk/enquire

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