Located at the intersection of the U.S.’s agricultural heartland and its northern forests, the GLBRC has access to a rich diversity of raw biomass for study. The Center's Deconstruction research focuses on identifying the best combinations of enzymes, chemicals, and physical processing methods for enhancing the digestibility of specific biomass sources.
Dale is an expert on making ethanol from cellulose, plant stalks, grass, corn cobs and other woody plant parts and has developed a patented process called ammonia fiber expansion (AFEXTM), which makes the breakdown of cellulose more efficient, thus tackling...
Fox's research goals are to define the structure and the reactivity of the active site diiron center, to probe the catalytic contributions of the active site protein residues and to determine the consequences of protein-protein and protein-substrate interactions on the...
GLBRC Deconstruction research maintains a focus on the entire biofuels production pipeline: in addition to identifying and improving natural cellulose-degrading enzymes extracted from diverse environments, researchers apply unique biomass pretreatment technologies—such as ammonia fiber expansion (AFEX™), alkaline hydrogen peroxide (AHP), and extractive ammonia (EA)—that enable conversion technologies to maximize plant biomass utilization.. Researchers also explore strategies to add value to these processes by developing co-products from materials that would otherwise be treated as waste, such as lignin. Specific deconstruction projects include:
- Pretreatment effects on biomass, alkaline peroxide pretreatment, fuel production from alkaline-pretreated biomass
- Optimization of enzymes for biomass conversion, discovery of natural cellulolytic microbes, identification of novel microbial enzymes, and combinatorial discovery of enzymes and proteins
Evolution of high cellulolytic activity in symbiotic Streptomyces through selection of expanded gene content and coordinated gene expression
Cellulose deconstruction helps shape the global carbon cycle; this study shows that high cellulolytic ability evolved in select lineages of the bacterial genus
Isolation and characterization of new lignin streams derived from extractive-ammonia (EA) pretreatment
Microorganisms and their residues under restored perennial grassland communities of varying diversity