BEACON Team

Beacon Team Member

Dr Ana Winters

Principal Investigator

alg@aber.ac.uk

Aberystwyth University

Background

Ana Winters is a senior research scientist with knowledge and experience in a wide range of fields covering plant molecular biology and biochemistry concerned with the sustainable production of forage. She has carried out studies on gene expression and identification of genes associated with carbohydrate accumulation in forage grasses. Her work on microbial utilisation of plant carbohydrates during ensilage lead to the development of a novel silage inoculant incorporating selected bacterial strains and resulted in a successful patent application. Enzymes involved in breakdown of plant carbohydrate polymers have been isolated and sequenced by her and others. These are now being exploited for bioconversion of plant feed stocks to commercial products. She has published extensively on the role of polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activity in the utilisation of forage protein. Output from studies on PPO include; identification of novel PPO genes in red clover, perennial ryegrass, meadow fescue, cocksfoot and Miscanthus in addition to characterisation of unique properties of red clover PPO enzyme. Other areas of interest include the effects of naturally occurring sugar analogues on carbohydrate hydrolytic enzyme activity. More recently her research and has focussed on post-harvest deterioration in bioenergy crops with emphasis on phenol-oxidising enzyme activity and phenol substrates in grasses

Research Interests

My current research interests are in post-harvest stabilisation of energy crops, saccharification of lignocellulose and profiling of soluble phenols in plant extracts.

BEACON Activities

  • Developing methodology for recovery of proteins and sugars from plant feedstocks for application in a biorefinery.
  • Identification of plant feedstocks with biorefining potential.
  • Isolation and characterisation of secondary compounds with potential application in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.

Future Plans

  • Scale-up of lab scale processes
  • Profiling of fermentation broths for secondary products with industrial application.

Publications

I Parveen, I., Threadgill, M. D., Hauck, B., Donnison, I. Winters, A. L. (2011). Isolation, identification and quantitation of hydroxycinnamic acid conjugates, potential platform chemicals, in the leaves and stems of Miscanthus × giganteus using LC-ESI-MSn. Phytochemistry 72, 2376

Parveen, I., Threadgill, M. D., Moorby, J. M., Winters, A. L. (2010). Oxidative phenols in forage crops containing polyphenol oxidase enzymes. Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry 58, 1371-1382.

Winters, A. L. , Heywood, S., Farrar, K., Donnison, I. S., Thomas, A., Webb, K. J. (2009). Identification of an extensive gene cluster among a family of PPOs in Trifolium pratense L. using a large insert BAC library. BMC Plant Biology, 9, 94

Lee, M. R. F., Theobald, V. T., Tweed, J. K. S., Winters, A. L., Scollan, N. D. (2009). Effect of feeding fresh or conditioned red clover on milk fatty acids and N utilisation in lactating dairy cows Journal of Dairy Science, 92, 1136-1147

Winters A. L., Minchin, F. R., Michaelson-Yeates, T. P. T., Lee, M. R. F., Morris, P. (2008). Latent and active PPO in red clover (Trifolium pratense) and use of a low-PPO mutant to study the role of PPO in proteolysis reduction. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 56, 2817-2824