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Yang Wang, Xukai Li, Kai Guo, Liangcai Peng, Yanting Wang
Cereal crops, including rice, wheat, corn, and sweet sorghum, produce major food grains for humans and generate huge amount biomass for biofuels production. Due to lignocellulose recalcitrance, however, the most biomass residues of cereal crops are not well used for biofuel application, and genetic modification of plant cell walls has thus proposed as a promising solution for enhancing biomass enzymatic saccharification. In the present review, we described plant cell wall compositions and wall polymer features in four cereal crops, and presented their major wall factors that significantly affect biomass enzymatic digestibility under various pretreatments including cellulose crystallinity, arabinose substitution degree of hemicellulose and three monomers proportions of lignin. Furthermore, using globe genomic sequence database and gene expression information, we compared all candidate genes that are involved in cell wall biosynthesis in the four cereal crops, and discussed the potential cell wall modifications for increasing both biomass yields and lignocellulose enzymatic saccharification in the cereal crops by using desire genes and selecting appropriate genetic manipulation approaches.