How plant polysaccharides can help to save the world

Plant cells are surrounded by a high complex structure called the cell wall. This cell wall is mainly composed of polysaccharides. These polysaccharides confer several properties to the plant cell wall including flexibility, porosity and mechanical strength. In addition, they have the potential to improve our health and environment, which is the topic of this Planters Punch.


        World Saver:                                Scientist:

Quality Food...

Better environment...


...with the help of yeast and plants!

Join us on our journey!!!

Further Reading:

BEHERA, Sudhanshu S. and RAY, Ramesh C., 2016. Konjac glucomannan, a promising polysaccharide of Amorphophallus konjac K. Koch in health care. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. November 2016. Vol. 92, p. 942–956. DOI 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2016.07.098.

HARSOJUWONO, Bambang, MULYANI, Sri and ARNATA, I., 2019. Characteristics of bio-plastic composites from the modified cassava starch and konjac glucomannan. Journal of Applied Horticulture. 25 September 2019. Vol. 21, p. 2019. DOI 10.37855/jah.2019.v21i01.02.

SINGH, Saumya, SINGH, Gursharan and ARYA, Shailendra Kumar, 2018. Mannans: An overview of properties and application in food products. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 1 November 2018. Vol. 119, p. 79–95. DOI 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2018.07.130.

VOINICIUC, Cătălin, DAMA, Murali, GAWENDA, Niklas, STRITT, Fabian and PAULY, Markus, 2019. Mechanistic insights from plant heteromannan synthesis in yeast. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 08 2019. Vol. 116, no. 2, p. 522–527. DOI 10.1073/pnas.1814003116.

YANG, Dan, YUAN, Yi, WANG, Lin, WANG, Xiaoshan, MU, Ruojun, PANG, Jie, XIAO, Jianbo and ZHENG, Yafeng, 2017. A Review on Konjac Glucomannan Gels: Microstructure and Application. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 27 October 2017. Vol. 18, no. 11. DOI 10.3390/ijms18112250.



Illustration: Allegra Corelli Grappadelli is a PhD student in the Institute for Plant Cell Biology and Biotechnology led by Prof. Dr. Markus Pauly. She is working on MALDI imaging techniques for studying cell wall structures and compositions.

The authors thank Katharina Lufen and Niklas Gawenda for their useful suggestions and constructive criticism of this work.

Planter’s Punch

Under the heading Planter’s Punch we present each month one special aspect of the CEPLAS research programme. All contributions are prepared by our young researchers.

About the Authors

Dr. Niklas Jung is a german biologist who is interested in using Synthetic Biology to produce plant cell wall polymers in the yeast Pichia pastoris. The Pichia strains will then be further transformed with plant factors that influence sugar pool distributions towards the production of these polysaccharides. With such a study his goal is to unravel mechanisms that influence carbon allocation from the central carbon pool towards different wall polysaccharides. Previous to joining CEPLAS he worked with Prof. Dorothea Bartels at the University of Bonn on the resurrection plant Craterostigma plantagineum and studied the behaviour of the cell wall upon dehydration and rehydration.

Dr. Thomas Perrot is a french biochemist who is interested in using Synthetic Biology to produce mixed-linkage glucan, a plant polysaccharide, through the yeast model Pichia pastoris. Previous to joining CEPLAS he studied enzymes involved in the detoxification system of a wood-decaying fungus (Trametes versicolor) with Prof. Eric Gelhaye and Prof. Mélanie Morel-Rouhier at the University of Lorraine.


Heinrich Heine University
University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Forschungszentrum Jülich