Effect of corngrass on cell wall components

--W. F. Tracy and R. D. Hatfield

In addition to its manifold effects on morphology and development, the corngrass gene Cg alters cell wall composition. In preliminary studies we examined the neutral sugar composition, uronic acid levels and lignin in leaves, sheaths, and stems of Cg plants and +/+ segregates. The greatest differences were detected in the leaf tissue, with smaller differences in the sheaths and then in the stems. The direction of the difference was consistent in all 3 tissues.

Glucose and uronic acid levels were significantly higher in the Cg leaves than in the normal segregates. The amount of xylose in normal leaves was nearly double that found in Cg leaves. Lignin levels were not different. These differences may affect cell wall structure and thus forage quality, pest resistance, and biomass production.

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