Navigation Links
Straw from oilseed as a new source of biofuels
Date:5/23/2014

The bright yellow fields of oilseed rape are a familiar sight at this time of year, but for scientists what lies beneath is just as exciting.

Researchers at the Institute of Food Research are looking at how to turn straw from oilseed rape into biofuel. Preliminary findings are pointing at ways the process could be made more efficient, as well as how the straw itself could be improved.

Straw from crops such as wheat, barley, oats and oilseed rape is seen as a potential source of biomass for second generation biofuel production. Currently the UK produces around 12 million tonnes of straw. Although much is used for animal bedding, mushroom compost and energy generation, there still exists a vast surplus.

Straw contains a mix of sugars that could be used as a source of biofuels that do not compete with food production but instead represent a sustainable way of utilising waste. However, the sugars are in a form that makes them inaccessible to the enzymes that release them for conversion into biofuels, so pre-treatments are needed. The pre-treatments make the complex carbohydrates more accessible to enzymes that convert them to glucose, in a process called saccharification. This is then fermented by yeast into ethanol.

Using the facilities at the Biorefinery Centre on the Norwich Research Park, Professor Keith Waldron and his team have been looking at the steps needed to unlock the sugars tied up in the tough straw structure. In particular, they have looked at the pre-treatment stage, focusing on steam explosion, which involves 'pressure-cooking' the biomass, to drive a number of chemical reactions. A rapid pressure-release then causes the material to be ripped open, to further improve accessibility.

They varied the temperature and duration of steam explosion and then used a variety of physical and biochemical techniques to characterise what effects varying the pre-treatments had on the different types of sugars before and after saccharification.

The amount of cellulose converted to glucose increased with the severity of the pretreatment. Saccharification efficiency is also associated with the loss of specific sugars, and subsequent formation of sugar breakdown products.

In a further study funded by the BBSRC / EPSRC Integrated Biorefining Research and Technology Club, the scientists discovered the key factors that determine the efficiency of saccharification. One particular compound, uronic acid, limited the rate at which enzymes worked. The final sugar yield was closely related to the removal of xylan, a common component of plant cell walls. The abundance of lignin, a 'woody' cell wall component, was positively related to the amount of available sugars.

These findings will help improve the efficiency by which straw can be converted to biofuels. For example, adding enzymes that more effectively remove xylan should improve yield. Controlling the level of lignin in the material should also help.

It may even be possible to improve the straw itself, for example to reduce the uronic acid content in the biomass, as suggested by these findings. In the main, oilseed rape has been bred to improve oilseed yield and disease resistance, without paying much attention to the straw. The IFR is working with colleagues at the University of York and the John Innes Centre to see whether there are ways of breeding more "biofuel-ready" varieties of oilseed rape, with the same yields of oilseed but with more amenable straw. In addition, a full understanding of the polysaccharides and other compounds made available during pretreatment may mean other valuable co-products, like platform chemicals, may be viably produced from the surplus straw.


'/>"/>

Contact: Andrew Chapple
andrew.chapple@ifr.ac.uk
01-603-251-490
Norwich BioScience Institutes
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Strawberries activate protection protein to prevent cardiovascular disease
2. Silver nanoparticle synthesis using strawberry tree leaf
3. Strawberry extract protects against UVA rays
4. TECNALIA leads research to develop new biocomposites based on wheat straw and recycled paper
5. The potential of straw for the energy mix has been underestimated
6. New research informs California strawberry production practices
7. Strawberries lower cholesterol
8. Researcher awarded $5.08 million to study oilseed camelina as biofuel feedstock
9. Current water resources in Europe and Africa
10. Keck award enables Carnegie Mellon and Stanford to dramatically expand crowdsourced RNA design
11. Gallbladder shown as potential stem cell source for regenerative liver and metabolic disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Straw from oilseed as a new source of biofuels
(Date:4/13/2017)... According to a new market research report "Consumer IAM Market ... Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast ... from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 Billion by 2022, ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   ... announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin D. ... Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , ... forward to their guidance and benefiting from their considerable expertise ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 4, 2017 KEY FINDINGS ... to expand at a CAGR of 25.76% during the ... is the primary factor for the growth of the ... https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/4807905/ MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem ... technology, application, and geography. The stem cell market of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/17/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... July 17, 2017 , ... The Academy ... local celebration of National Model Aviation Day will take place from 9 a.m. to ... and will include activities for all ages. , Aviation Adventure Day will be packed ...
(Date:7/17/2017)... ... July 17, 2017 , ... ... that has developed and intends both to manufacture and sell reagents used for ... NASDAQ Capital Market. , Headquartered in Sandy, Utah, Co-Diagnostics’ intellectual property and technologies ...
(Date:7/14/2017)... ... July 14, 2017 , ... Sonic Manufacturing Technologies is proud ... installed a solar system on its roof top. “We will be independent of ... Kenneth Raab stated. The company’s proud history of social responsibility and participation in ...
(Date:7/13/2017)... ... July 13, 2017 , ... Heritage Biologics is ... is the independent leader in promoting healthcare quality through accreditation, certification and measurement. ... care, improved processes and better patient outcomes. , “Achieving URAC accreditation is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: