Garret Suen is an associate professor of Bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, who is researching how herbivores use the microbes in their stomachs to break down cellulose into smaller molecules that can be converted into biofuels and bioproducts.
A digital, urbanised world consumes huge amounts of raw materials that could hardly be called environmentally friendly. One promising solution may be found in renewable raw materials, according to research published in Advanced Materials.
Engineers have invented a way to spray extremely thin wires made of a plant-based material that could be used in N95 mask filters, devices that harvest energy for electricity, and potentially the creation of human organs. The method involves spraying methylcellulose, a renewable plastic material derived from plant cellulose, on 3D-printed and other objects ranging from electronics to plants, according to a Rutgers-led study in the journal Materials Horizons.
A new low-temperature multi-phase process for upgrading lignin bio-oil to hydrocarbons could help expand use of the lignin, which is now largely a waste product left over from the productions of cellulose and bioethanol from trees and other woody plants.
The new discovery unveils the molecular machinery that plants use to weave cellulose chains into cable-like structures called “microfibrils.”
In Nature Genetics, a multi-institutional team including DOE Joint Genome Institute researchers sequenced and assembled the genomes of the five major cotton lineages to provide breeders with genetic level insights on crop improvements. The genomes are available on JGI’s plant data portal Phytozome.
Researchers have developed a new process that could make it much cheaper to produce biofuels such as ethanol from plant waste and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Their approach, featuring an ammonia-salt based solvent that rapidly turns plant fibers into sugars needed to make ethanol, works well at close to room temperature, unlike conventional processes, according to a Rutgers-led study in the journal Green Chemistry.