News

| Krista Eastman

MADISON — In the Microbial Sciences Building at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the incredibly efficient eating habits of a fungus-cultivating termite are surprising even to those well acquainted with the insect’s natural gift for turning wood to dust.

| Leslie Shown

If science classes at Bonduel Middle School had a rallying cry it would be, “Don’t expect to find the answers in the book!” And Lisa Sorlie, enthusiastic advocate of innovative classroom science, would definitely be holding the megaphone.

| Chrislyn Particka

Kathryn Bloodworth’s passion for science is taking her places. The Persian Gulf country of Qatar, to be more specific.

Bloodworth started college as an early childhood education major but changed majors her sophomore year after her first day of biology.

During the kraft process used to convert wood into wood pulp, the structural material lignin is partially converted into molecules like stilbene. Stilbenes are also naturally occurring in plants and some bacteria, and may play a role in plant pathogen resistance.

| Leslie Shown

he Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) had reason to celebrate when Clarivate Analytics – formerly the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters – recently released its 2016 list of “Highly Cited Researchers” in the natural and social sciences.

| Chao Yan

Poplars and other trees can be bred to break down more easily to make biofuel and other products such as paper, according to scientists at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.

| Amber Dance

Bacteria and other microbes interact in diverse populations everywhere from the human gut to the oceans. Scientists are eager to understand these communities, called microbiomes, in the hopes of benefiting human health, feeding the planet and protecting the environment.

| Nik Papageorgiou

Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels means turning to plant-derived biofuels and chemicals. But producing them cost-effectively from plants and other organic matter – collectively referred to as biomass – is a major engineering challenge. Most biomass comes in the form of non-edible plants like trees, grass, and algae, which contain sugars that can be fermented to produce fuel.

| Krista Eastman

MADISON -- When scientists reported in 2014 that they had successfully engineered a poplar plant “designed for deconstruction,” the finding made international news. The highly degradable poplar, the first of its kind, could substantially reduce the energy use and cost of converting biomass to a number of products, including biofuels, pulp, and paper.

| Mark E. Griffin

MADISON – Scientists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) have found a way to nearly double the efficiency with which Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a commonly used industrial yeast strain, converts plant sugars to biofuel.