Non-productive binding of enzymes to lignin is thought to impede the saccharification efficiency of pretreated lignocellulosic biomass to fermentable sugars.
Our researchers consistently turn out new and innovative research that can lead to publications and new technology. On this page we'll highlight new research publications and/or activities in the GLBRC that underscore the great work that our researchers are doing.
Bio-based societies could become a reality when biomass-derived renewable substitutes are found for the vast array of products currently derived from the processing of crude petroleum and other fossil sources. The biorefineries in these societies would integrate biomass conversion processes and equipment to produce fuels, power, and chemicals from biomass.
Scientists today demonstrated the potential for softwoods to process more easily into pulp and paper if engineered to incorporate a key feature of hardwoods. The finding, published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could improve the economics of the pulp, paper and biofuels industries and reduce those industries’ environmental impact.
Lignocellulosic hydrolysates contain a number of compounds that are toxic to microbes and limit conversion of sugars to biofuels. Knowledge of the types of inhibitors formed during biomass pretreatment and/or hydrolysis and their biological targets is useful for engineering biocatalyst tolerance.
Plant seed oils offer many advantages over synthetic or mineral oils, including biodegradability, low toxicity, and exceptional lubricity.
Several types of grasses belonging to the Poaceae family can be grown as bioenergy crops in the Midwest regions of the U.S. due to its climate, soil fertility, and water availability.
One of the goals of systems biology is the mapping of gene interactions and regulatory networks from complex data sets. In many biological systems, a large part of the response to environmental signaling occurs at the level of transcription.
Lignin is a complex polymer found in plant secondary walls that plays an important role in mechanical support, water transport, and stress responses. In many applications, lignin has to be removed in order to access the cellulose and other polysaccharides for conversion into bioproducts or biofuels.
Crop rotations are a key element of agronomic management, as they can influence key ecosystem services such as crop yields, carbon and nutrient cycling, soil erosion, water quality, and pest and disease control.
Measurement of growth curves is of great utility in microbial research as a tool for characterizing strain phenotypes. Typically, a growth curve is generated by monitoring optical density of a liquid culture. Growth curves are usually sigmoid in shape. However, more complex patterns often arise as the result of various phenomena such as diauxic shifts, flocculation, and cell death.
Developing modern crops for human use has a rich history. Although there have been significant advances in increasing the harvest index of crops to maximize grain production, much of the crop residues are not utilized, making them an attractive source of biomass for bioenergy production.
The goal of the Sustainability Retreat is to provide a platform for all GLBRC Sustainability researchers to update their colleagues on specific advances made in the last year and to provide a time and space for developing strategies and coordination of efforts between groups across various GLBRC research sites.
Researchers working on ways to select for improved plant traits for cellulosic biofuels applications use DNA sequence variation (markers) to create genetic linkage maps and apply genomic approaches to identify and improve bioenergy cultivars.
One way in which microorganisms may be tailored to a particular process is by rational design and the incorporation of genetic traits that lead to improvements. Many model organisms like Saccharomyces cerevisiae have well developed tools for genetic manipulation however their use often does not extend to other species, even those that are closely related.
The biofuels industry has devoted significant efforts to converting lignocellulosic substrates into sugars that can be fermented into biofuels or other bioproducts.
Up to 20% of the cell wall in grasses is composed of mixed-linked glucan (MLG). The MLG carbohydrate is an important plant-based energy source for human consumption and potentially a readily accessible carbon source for biofuel production. MLG synthesis depends on two cellulose-synthase-like gene families (CSLH & CSLF).
In September, GLBRC Education and Outreach leaders John Greenler and Leith Nye, in collaboration with Travis Tangen at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, published a laboratory protocol that facilitates student engagement in bioenergy research.
The choice of solvent for lignocellulosic biomass conversion can influence the reaction rate, yield of product, and the type and yield of undesirable side products. Gamma-valerolactone (GVL) is an organic solvent shown to produce a high yield of sugar and solubilized lignin streams from acid-catalyzed biomass.
Most biological catalysts used for biofuel production have come from nature, where there is selective pressure to adapt to changes in the environment. As such, natural populations contain a diversity of genetic traits, some of which may be useful for bioenergy production.
In order to successfully develop a second-generation biofuels industry, the agricultural sector will need to supply bioenergy feedstocks, which refer to cellulosic biomass (non-food plants), which typically consists of crop residues, perennial grasses, and short-rotation trees.