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:2/7/2017)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical ... research, is pleased to announce that the latest release ... flexible and award winning eClinical solution, is now available ... is a proven Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) clinical research technology platform ... also delivers an entire suite of eClinical tools to ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... LONG BEACH, New York , February 7, 2017 ... formerly known as ID Global Solutions Corporation [OTC: IDGS], ... identification, identity management and electronic transaction processing services, is ... a reorganization of the Company. Effective January ... Chairman of the Board of Directors, CEO and President. ...
(Date:2/3/2017)... , Feb. 3, 2017  Texas Biomedical Research Institute ... Larry Schlesinger as the Institute,s new President ... Biomed effective May 31, 2017. He is currently the Chair ... of the Center for Microbial Interface Biology at Ohio State ... as the new President and CEO of Texas Biomed," said ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... Island, NY (PRWEB) , ... February 24, 2017 , ... ... rate. Founded in late 2014, FireflySci had the goal of bringing their powerful ... that goal continues to shape the path that FireflySci is going on as they ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... NEW YORK , Feb. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... leading digital health company, and Digital Noema ... and remote patient monitoring, announce they are partnering ... DN Telehealth maximizes collaboration compatibility for ... consultations beyond a physical clinical setting to include ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... 2017  MIODx announced today that it has ... technologies from the University of California, San Francisco ... monitor a patient for response to immune checkpoint ... second license extends the technology with a method ... have an immune-related adverse event (IRAE) from their ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... novo clearance to begin marketing the SPEAC® System, the Brain Sentinel® Seizure Monitoring ... home or in healthcare facilities during periods of rest. A lightweight, non-invasive monitor ...
Breaking Biology Technology: