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:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016   The Weather Company , an IBM ... an industry-first capability in which consumers will be able to ... ask questions via voice or text and receive relevant information ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution that ... be personal, relevant and valuable; and can scale across millions ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... , June 1, 2016 Favorable ... Election Administration and Criminal Identification to Boost Global Biometrics ... recently released TechSci Research report, " Global Biometrics Market ... Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the global ... by 2021, on account of growing security concerns across ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt is excited ... with VoicePass. By working together, VoiceIt ...  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly different approaches ... increases both security and usability. ... about this new partnership. "This marketing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(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)... , June 22, 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: ... the QB3@953 life sciences incubator to accelerate ... The shared laboratory space at QB3@953 was created to ... key obstacle for many early stage organizations - access ... the sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... NEW YORK , June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... the growing next generation sequencing (NGS) market include ... adoption of smaller sequencers.  More accessible and affordable ... led to growing demand for consumables including sample ... The Market for Sample Preparation for Next ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA (PRWEB) , ... June 21, 2016 , ... ... — and without cutting into the tissue — promise to enable both compact, wearable ... information and from even deeper under the skin. , Recent work and visionary future ...
Breaking Biology Technology: