Removing recalcitrance as an economic barrier for sustainable cellulosic biofuels
Biomass recalcitrance is the primary barrier to efficiently and economically accessing fermentable sugars for advanced biofuels that will directly displace petroleum. Convinced that biotechnological approaches hold the most promise for achieving these breakthroughs, the BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) is developing plants that are easier to deconstruct and microbes that more effectively convert lignocellulose into simple sugars.
BESC research involves working with two potential bioenergy crops (switchgrass and Populus) to develop varieties that are easier to break down into fermentable sugars and to understand how plant cell walls are formed and can be modified to improve sugar release.
BESC research in biomass deconstruction and conversion targets consolidated bioprocessing (a single-step process) by studying model organisms and thermophilic anaerobes to understand novel strategies and enzyme complexes for biomass deconstruction.
BESC researchers in characterization, modeling, and data management areas are engaged in (1) applying advanced technologies to analyze chemical and structural changes within biomass, and (2) storing, tracking, analyzing, and integrating data and understanding across the center.
BESC researchers are building and applying imaging technologies and platforms to characterize the structure of plant biomass at the molecular level and assess how it is affected by chemical pretreatment. [More]
Leveraging Thermophiles for Biofuels
Because higher temperatures facilitate the deconstruction of lignin and release of simple sugars within plant biomass, thermophilic bacteria are promising candidates for biofuel production systems. [More]
Understanding Microbes Informs Optimization
In addition to their natural ability to break down lignocellulose, C. thermocellum and C. bescii have the surprising capacity to extensively deconstruct biomass (especially grasses) after minimal or no chemical pretreatment, a typically harsh and expensive step in biofuel production. [More]
Improving Tools for Studying Switchgrass
BESC has created a rapid, stable transformation protocol for switchgrass has improved the transformation efficiency from 20% to >90% and decreased the turnaround time for generation of new transformants from months to weeks. [More]
- [view document] The effect of alkaline pretreatment methods on cellulose structure and accessibility
- Pen and Pal are nucleotide-sugar-dehydratases that convert UDP-GlcNAc to UDP-6-deoxy-D-GlcNAc-5,6-ene and then to UDP-4-keto-6-deoxy-L-AltNAc for CMP-pseudaminic acid synthesis in Bacillus thuringiensis
- [view document] Comparative analysis of the ability of Clostridium clariflavum strains and Clostridium thermocellum to utilize hemicellulose and unpretreated plant material
- [view document] Systems and synthetic biology approaches to alter plant cell walls and reduce biomass recalcitrance
- [view document] Single gene insertion drives bioalcohol production by a thermophilic archaeon
This is a random selection of BESC's intellectual property available for licensing. See Intellectual Property for all 32 available.
- Consolidated Bioprocessing Method using Thermophilic Microorganisms
- Improve Biochemical Fermentation Utilizing Modified Transgenic Rice and Switchgrass
- Universal Gene Transfer Technology for Gram Positive Bacteria
- A Broad Environmental Stress-Inducible Promoter and its Application in Crops
- Genes to Increase Growth in Monocots
- Second Annual Bioenergy Day at UGA
- Research team first to fully sequence bacterial genome important to fuel and chemical production
- WUOT Interview with Jerry Tuskan on extracting jet fuel from eucalyptus plants
- Improving commercial viability of biofuels
- UGA, ORNL research team engineers microbes for the direct conversion of biomass to fuel
- Keep up with BESC on our blog