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Genetically-Modified Trees Contribute to Cleaner Paper Production

Photo Credit: Martin Dee
Researchers have successfully designed genetically-engineered trees that require less energy and chemicals to break down and at the same time, produce fewer pollutants during paper production. The paper industry usually uses significant chemicals and energy to remove lignin, which is a polymer found in wood. By modifying the lignin using ester bonds, genetically-modified trees could clean up paper industry and also recover more wood carbohydrate than before. However, as with all genetically modified organisms, measures must be taken to prevent genes from spreading to natural forests. Prevention of cross-pollination, sterilizing of the plants and harvesting before maturity are techniques used as preventive measures. 


Date & Source: April 3, 2014, Science Daily