• Biofuel testing creates easier route to power from plant matter

Biofuel Industry News

Biofuel testing creates easier route to power from plant matter

Sep 15 2010

The discovery of a number of important enzymes during biofuel testing could make energy from straw and wood easier to extract.

Inedible parts of plants are typically difficult to break down in order to create fuel from the energy that they hold.

However, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has funded biofuel testing which has revealed which enzymes are responsible for this difficulty.

The team grew Arabidopsis plants without two of the three enzymes associated with xylan, a component of lignocellulose that helps to give rigidity to their cellular structure.

Although this resulted in weakened stems, it did not diminish the overall health or maximum growth size of the plants.

In turn, the plant became easier to break down and the xylan easier to convert into energy for use in biofuels.

The BBSRC funds academic research across the UK in a variety of disciplines, with recent studies including drugs to combat jet lag and ways to reduce the spread of Campylobacter food poisoning.

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