Dr Tony Fawcett
There is an increasing demand for plant oils not only for human food and animal feed but also as renewable sources of chemicals and biofuels. This increased demand has shown a doubling every 8 years over the last four decades and is likely to continue in the future. With a limitation on agricultural land, the main way to increase production is to increase yields and for this to be realized a thorough knowledge of the biosynthesis of plant oils is needed, including how oil quality and quantity is controlled. Recently, we made a first experimental study of overall regulation of storage oil accumulation in oilseed rape, which we analyzed by flux control analysis. This showed that it is the lipid assembly, rather than fatty acid biosynthesis, that is the most important limitation on the biosynthetic process. Currently we are dissecting the lipid assembly components to identify targets with significant control for targeted future crop improvement strategies.
- Plant lipid biochemistry
- Spronken-Smith, Rachel, Sandover, Sally, Partridge, Lee, Leger, Andy, Fawcett, Tony & Burd, Liz (2018). The Challenges of Going Global with Undergraduate Research: The Matariki Undergraduate Research Network. SPUR: Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research 2(2): 64-72.
- Ramli, UM, Tang, M, Quant, PA, Guschina, IA, Fawcett T & Harwood, JL (2014). Informed metabolic engineering of oil crops using control analysis. Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology 3(1): 49-52.
- Tang, M., Guschina, I.A., O’Hara, P., Slabas, A.R., Quant, P.A., Fawcett, T. & Harwood, J.L. (2012). Metabolic control analysis of developing oilseed rape (Brassica napus cv Westar) embryos shows that lipid assembly exerts significant control over oil accumulation. New Phytologist 196(2): 414-426.
- Mina, J.G., Okada, Y. , Wansadhipathi-Kannangara, N.K., Pratt, S., Shams-Eldin, H., Schwarz, R.T., Steel, P.G., Fawcett, T. & Denny, P.W. (2010). Functional analyses of differentially expressed isoforms of the Arabidopsis inositol phosphorylceramide synthase. Plant Molecular Biology 73(4-5): 399-407.
- O'Hara, Paul., Slabas, Antoni R. & Fawcett, Tony. (2007). Antisense expression of 3-oxoacyl-ACP reductase affects whole plant productivity and causes collateral changes in activity of fatty acid synthase components. Plant and Cell Physiology 48(5): 736-744.