Navigation Links
Toward more cost-effective production of biofuels from plant lignocellulosic biomass
Date:11/16/2011

In 1925, Henry Ford observed that fuel is present in all vegetative matter that can be fermented and predicted that Americans would some day grow their own fuel. Last year, global biofuel production reached 28 billion US gallons, and biofuel accounted for 2.7% of the world's transportation fuel. Bioethanol, a popular type of biofuel, is largely derived from sugary food crops such as corn and sugarcane. However, technologies are being developed to generate bioethanol from non-food sources, such as the lignocellulosics present in switchgrass and trees. The sugars locked in the polymers of cell walls, i.e., cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, can be extracted and fermented by yeast into bioethanol.

A major obstacle to this strategy is that most wall polysaccharides are O-acetylated (i.e., chemically bonded to acetate groups), and the acetate released from these molecules during processing inhibits the activity of the microbes that ferment sugars into alcohol. Based on techno-economical models, a 20% reduction in biomass acetylation is predicted to translate into a 10% reduction in bioethanol price. Thus, a major goal in the field of plant biofuel research is to diminish the O-acetate content in the cell walls of plants, possibly by blocking the enzymes that acetylate the cell wall polymers. However, little is known about the acetylation enzymes in plants.

A team of researchers at the Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California, Berkeley, set out to identify the enzymes that acetylate the polysaccharides that are present in lignocellulosic feedstocks. Their initial work focused on xyloglucan, a type of hemicellose that is abundant in plant cell walls. Using a mass spectrometric technique, the scientists isolated a mutant from amongst a mutagenized population of the model plant Arabidopsis (a member of the mustard and cabbage family) that exhibited a 20-45% reduction in xyloglucan O-acetylation. The researchers mapped the mutation to a physical location in the Arabidopsis genome, and named the gene locus ALTERED HEMICELLULOSE XYLOGLUCAN 4 (AXY4). Blocking the expression of AXY4 in Arabidopsis eliminates xyloglucan O-acetylation.

A natural variety of Arabidopsis growing in northern Scotland also has low levels of xyloglucan O-acetylation. Intriguingly, this variety was found to have a natural mutation in the same gene - AXY4. This finding demonstrates that lack of xyloglucan O-acetylation does not represent a selective disadvantage for the plant, and supports the feasibility of genetically blocking the expression of the protein that controls O-acetylation in plants destined for biofuel production.

"The identification of the first gene to encode a polysaccharide O-acetyltransferase opens the door for identifying similar genes in bioenergy crop feedstocks, such as miscanthus or other energy-grasses. These genes can be used as genetic markers to facilitate breeding programs that aim to generate biofuel feedstocks with reduced lignocellulosic acetate content," says Markus Pauly, a plant biologist at Berkeley's Energy Biosciences Institute.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kathleen L. Farquharson
kfarquharson@aspb.org
206-324-2126
American Society of Plant Biologists
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Leicester leads the way towards a sustainable lake in Africa
2. Advance toward a breath test to diagnose multiple sclerosis
3. Progress towards developing plants that accommodate climate change
4. Wildlife Conservation Society study uncovers a predictable sequence toward coral reef collapse
5. Award-winning research points toward Alzheimer’s vaccine
6. Another step toward resisting breast cancer
7. Toward new medications for chronic brain diseases
8. Toward a more efficient use of solar energy
9. Toward a green grid for delivering solar and wind-based electricity
10. Progress toward the clinical application of autologous induced pluripotent stem cells and gene repair therapy for treatment of familial hypercholesterolemia
11. An advance toward blood transfusions that require no typing
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Toward more cost-effective production of biofuels from plant lignocellulosic biomass
(Date:11/19/2016)... , Nov. 18, 2016 Securus Technologies, ... solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, announced ... smaller competitor, ICSolutions, to have an independent technology judge ... the most modern high tech/sophisticated telephone calling platform, and ... customers that they do most of what we do ...
(Date:11/15/2016)...  Synthetic Biologics, Inc. (NYSE MKT: SYN), a ... gut microbiome, today announced the pricing of an ... common stock and warrants to purchase 50,000,000 shares ... the public of $1.00 per share and accompanying ... offering, excluding the proceeds, if any from the ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... The report forecasts the biometrics ... a CAGR of 12.28% during the period 2016-2020. ... with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the market landscape ... includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... MA (PRWEB) , ... December 02, 2016 , ... Robots ... Light Event on December 3rd, 2016. The event, which is held on the ... work with helping Americans with Disabilities back into the workplace. Suitable Technologies is partnering ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... December 2, 2016 The immunohistochemistry (IHC) ... at a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period of 2016 ... diagnostic laboratories segment accounted for the largest share of immunohistochemistry (IHC) ... , ... global immunohistochemistry (IHC) market spread across 225 pages, profiling 10 companies ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... November 30, 2016 , ... BEI Kimco, a brand ... a flexure design that ensures high alignment accuracy by preventing unwanted shaft rotation. ... suited where extreme precision is required, such as in medical equipment, laboratory instrumentation, ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... , November 30, 2016 ... a few players hold a dominant share in the ... River Laboratories International, Inc., and Merck KGaA, held a ... 2015. Transparency Market Research observes that these companies are ... on development products that are do not require rabbit ...
Breaking Biology Technology: