Claus Krogh Madsen

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Claus Krogh Madsen
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My work concerns the improvement of cereals and grasses with molecular methods. This can be either directly i.e. plant transformation or indirectly by identifying molecular targets for conventional breeding. My Ph.D work focused on the endogenous cereal phytases. Some cereals e.g. rye and wheat which belong to the Triticeae tribe have high phytase activity in the mature grains. This can be beneficial for the uptake of minerals when the grains are used in food or feed. I cloned the responsible PAPhy genes from crop, relict and wild Triticeae and studied the evolutionary history of the PAPhy’s in order to understand how the high phytase trait came about and find ways to improve it further.

My current work concerns the involvement of laccases in cell wall lignification. Plant laccases are multigene families with e.g. 17 and 14 members in Arabidopsis thaliana and maize (Zea mays L.) respectively. The functional assignment of individual laccases in relation to cell wall lignification is therefore a major challenge, but also an opportunity. Thus, laccases may offer a route to modulate cell wall recalcitrance while maintaining agronomical performance. This would be highly valuable in energy- as well as forage crops. My studies are therefore performed on perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) which is an important forage- and potential energy crop. Key methods in my work are molecular cloning, plant transformation, gene discovery by e.g. library screening and PCR based methods, qPCR, and recombinant expression of plant proteins in Pichia pastoris.

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