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Kenaf plants with elevated fiber content
The Invention Transgenic Kenaf plants (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) have been developed by modifying the endogenous concentration of gibberellins using anti-sense technologies. These novel Kenaf plants have elevated fiber content. Furthermore, the fibers in these plants are of higher quality, substantially exceeding those of the methods used today.
Potential Applications Paper Cordage (cords and rope) Textiles
Advantages Kenaf is a fast growing annual closely related to cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) and is an environmentally friendly crop. Kenaf has been identified as the best non-wood paper source. It has exceptional papermaking characteristics: Less chemicals, heat and time are required to pulp Kenaf fibers because they are not as tough as woodpulp (produced from trees) and contain less lignin. Kenaf can be quickly and easily pulped and bleached with harmless chemicals, such as hydrogen peroxide. Kenaf has tremendous potential as a source of fiber for ropes, textiles and paper.
Stage Proof-of-concept studies have been conducted in Arabidopsis and tobacco plants. The transformed Arabidopsis and tobacco plants were 50% taller, had the same number of leaves and their phloem fibers were longer, higher quality and showed faster fiber differentiation, all as compared with the w.t. plants. Genes regulating gibberellins metabolism in Kenaf have been identified. Meristemic transformation protocols in Kenaf have been established. Transformed Kenaf plants are developing and undergoing analysis.
Professor Roni Aloni, Professor Adi Avni,
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