Navigation Links
Sweet success for sustainable biofuel research
Date:1/25/2010

Scientists have found a way to increase fermentable sugar stores in plants which could lead to plant biomass being easier to convert into eco-friendly sustainable biofuels. Their research is highlighted in the latest issue of Business, the quarterly highlights magazine of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Energy is released in a usable form from biomass when biodegradable matter such as wood or straw is burnt or fermented. Fuel for use in cars is produced by fermentation. To make the fermentation process more efficient and to maximise energy conversion a better understanding of the release of sugars from plant cell walls is crucial and researchers from the University of Cambridge are doing just that.

Using the plant Arabidopsis, Dr Paul Dupree and his team have found three enzymes responsible for the production of all detectable levels of a type of sugar called glucomannan. Their research also shows that the quantity of glucomannan can be increased or decreased in the stem with no visible detrimental effects on plant development or cell wall strength. However, the researchers found that changes in glucomannan levels had a detrimental effect on seed development.

Dr Dupree explains: "We now know that it may be possible to increase glucomannan specifically in harvestable plant organs, such as stems. This could be very beneficial for the production of bioenergy crops where higher proportions of enzyme-accessible fermentable sugars, such as those in glucomannan, could lead to higher yields of fuel. Achieving higher fuel yields from crops will increase the likelihood of sustainable and economic biofuels displacing fossil fuels."

The increases in fermentable sugar achieved so far are encouraging, but further work is needed to understand how to make substantial improvements in crop species. If the biomass plant material is sourced sustainably, from non-food crops and waste, then this research could help to contribute to significantly increasing the supply of eco-friendly biofuels.

Commenting on the research, BBSRC Chief Executive Professor Doug Kell, said: "Sustainability issues, environmental factors and economic pressures all mean there is an urgent need to find renewable energy sources. Plant-based biomass from non-food crops and waste offers an effective alternative, but to make the process more efficient, we need to examine ways of optimising the plant matter we use to produce fuels. Research such as that being conducted by the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre is harnessing the power of fundamental plant science to develop realistic alternatives to oil-based transport fuels that do not threaten the food chain or the environment."

Dr Dupree leads the Cell Wall Sugars Research Programme within the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre. This work is featured in the Winter issue of Business and the findings were recently published in The Plant Journal.


'/>"/>

Contact: Tracey Jewitt
press.office@bbsrc.ac.uk
44-017-934-14694
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Sweet corn study provides large-scale picture of better fields
2. Sweet corn story begins in UW-Madison lab
3. Cancers sweet tooth may be weakness
4. Recent news reports of sweetener reformulations raise questions about motivations
5. Purple sweet potato means increased amount of anti-cancer components
6. The bitter side of sweeteners
7. Quality and purity of popular stevia sweetener strengthened by new reference standards
8. Red pandas reveal an unexpected (artificial) sweet tooth
9. Liking sweets makes sense for kids
10. Spun-sugar fibers spawn sweet technique for nerve repair
11. New standard for popular stevia-based sweetener to assure products quality
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/3/2016)... May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a ... projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex biometric ... combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It ... and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has ... Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ,     ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics market ... the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is ... as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... Israel , April 14, 2016 ... Authentication and Malware Detection, today announced the appointment of ... assumed the new role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment ... on the heels of the deployment of its platform ... BioCatch,s behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique cognitive and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced positive ... its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The trials were ... studies designed to assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics ... healthy adult volunteers. Forty subjects were ... dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) or repeated ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 On Wednesday, June 22, ... down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% lower ... 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated coverage on the following ... Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... BIND ). Learn more about these stocks by accessing ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... a new line of intelligent tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma ... 12–17 in Chicago. The result of a collaboration among several companies with expertise ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... DIEGO , June 22, 2016 ... that will allow them to produce up to ... from one lot within one week. These high-quality, ... time laboriously preparing cells and spend more time ... possible through a proprietary, high-volume manufacturing process that ...
Breaking Biology Technology: