Some microbes are skilled at turning plants into biofuels and useful chemicals. Persuade them to do this efficiently enough, and you have the foundation of a bioenergy refinery that generates fuels and chemicals from renewable sources rather than fossil fuels.
Despite advances in sequencing technologies and computational methods in the past decade, researchers have uncovered genomes for just a small fraction of Earth’s microbial diversity. Because most microbes cannot be cultivated under laboratory conditions, their genomes can’t be sequenced using traditional approaches.
For farmers struggling against economic forces and doing everything they can to keep afloat, grassland biodiversity may be the last thing they want to worry about.
A new process developed by researchers at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center enables the production of a new platform chemical—a building block which can be converted to a variety of higher value products—from biomass-derived fructose.