A New Chloroplast Role for Making Biofuels

A New Chloroplast Role for Making Biofuels

Igor Houwat
August 09, 2017

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Plant Diagram

Michigan State University researchers are experimenting with harvesting seed oil to make biofuels that could someday power our jets and cars.

In a recent study published in the journal The Plant Cell, the researchers show that the chloroplast, where plant photosynthesis occurs, also participates in new ways to provide seed oil precursors.

Seed oil, more commonly called vegetable oil, is made out of lipids, which are small molecules found in fats, oils, waxes and membranes that make up the boundaries of all living cell components. They also store a lot of energy.

The scientists identified a new enzyme, named PLIP1, or Plastid Lipade 1, that interacts with lipids inside the chloroplast.