Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center Newsletter: October 2014
Note From GLBRC Director, Tim Donohue:
Tim Donohue
Tim Donohue

As always, we have been busy here at the GLBRC. In addition to continuing to publish exciting research on biofuels, we recently completed an extensive annual scientific review and audit with our funding agency, the U.S. Department of Energy. The review gave us the chance to share recent research milestones as well as to move forward on new goals and scientific challenges. We're also happy to report our recent hiring of Tina Nielsen as the new associate director of GLBRC. Ms. Nielsen, whose experience cuts across research and the energy industry, will focus on industry interactions, cross-disciplinary research, and scientific program development.


Read on for more Center highlights, and to learn more about the work we're doing at GLBRC.
Helping Switchgrass Survive Winter Will Boost Its Biofuel Potential
Robin Buell

Michigan State University has been awarded $1 million from a joint U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture program to develop hardier switchgrass, a plant native to North America that holds high potential as a biofuel source. Read more

Leaf Cutter Ant

A team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center is using metabolomic and metaproteomic techniques to examine the dynamics of nutrient turnover in the gardens of leaf-cutter ants. These herbivores, which are found in ecosystems throughout the Neotropics, feed on fungus gardens cultivated on fresh foliar biomass. Read more

Tim Donohue
A team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has identified the genes and enzymes that create a promising compound - the 19 carbon furan-containing fatty acid (19Fu-FA). The compound has a variety of potential uses as a biological alternative for compounds currently derived from fossil fuels. Read more
Take a Closer Look: Biofuels Can Support Environmental, Economic and Social Goals
Biofuels can be managed either sustainably or unsustainably. In contrast, it is difficult to imagine how fossil energy systems can ever achieve desirable environmental outcomes. A Perspective piece in Environmental Science and Technology, co-authored by several GLBRC researchers and their collaborators, outlines how biofuel systems can be sustainably managed to provide important social, economic, and environmental benefits. Read more
Cellulose Conversion Lab Activity Featured in The Science Teacher
The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center's student lab activity, "Converting Cellulosic Biomass to Ethanol (CB2E)," which engages students in the real word science of producing liquid fuel alternatives to fossil fuel-derived gasoline, appeared recently in an issue of The Science Teacher, the peer-reviewed practitioners' journal published by the National Science Teachers Association. Read more

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