The cell walls in wood, with their abundant lignocellulose, are a vast source of renewable biomass. To make this woody biomass a usable source, however, these raw materials require conversion into simple sugars, and then further processing by microorganisms into ethanol and other bioproducts.
The major limiting factor for this process is resistance to the saccharification (conversion into the simple sugars). A complex matrix of polymers, such as pectin, make these wood cell walls inaccessible to degrading enzymes and chemicals, preventing their efficient breakdown into sugars.
In a recent study published in Biotechnology for Biofuels, Biswal and colleagues have found that aspen which over expresses pectate lyase (an enzyme that degrades pectin) is easier to breakdown into sugars. When …
Biotechnology for Biofuels is pleased to announce a thematic series from the 20th International Symposium on Alcohol Fuels (ISAF 2013), held from 25 to 27 March 2013 at Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Guest edited by Emile van Zyl (University of Stellenbosch, South Africa), the thematic series brings together findings from ISAF 2013, where the current status of alcohol technologies and their applications were discussed, alongside the role of alcohol fuels in enabling sustainable future development.
In an introductory Editorial, the guest editor presents an interesting report of the conference, providing background and perspective, with a special focus on the issues Africa faces in adopting bioenergy in a sustainable manner.
The thematic series captures recent advances in conversion technologies for a …
This post was originally featured on BioMed Central’s magazine Biome.
Grasses belonging to the genus Sorghum are grown on a large scale in the United States, mainly as animal feed. However, in light of drives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, sorghum has also been grown as a biofuel. Sorghum crops have potential benefits over corn as alternative feedstocks for biofuel production, since they are drought tolerant and can be grown on marginal lands. In a recent study published in Biotechnology for Biofuels, Michael Wang and colleagues from the Argonne National Laboratories, USA, present a life cycle analysis to model the inputs and outputs involved in the cultivation, transport, processing and use of sorghum-derived ethanol as a vehicle …
Following last month’s publication of the 2012 Journal Citation Reports (Thomson Reuters), the Impact Factor for Biotechnology for Biofuels is 5.55, maintaining the journal’s position as the highest impact journal that fully focuses upon biofuels research. Biotechnology for Biofuels has grown rapidly over the past year, publishing top quality research on a broad range of topics, including plant feedstock development, pretreatment, bioconversion, bio-based chemical production, algal biofuels and techno-economics.
Overseen by the Editors-in-Chief, Michael Himmel, James du Preez, Debra Mohnen and Charles Wyman, Biotechnology for Biofuels is supported by an expert panel of Associate Editors, who are responsible for peer-review and editorial decision making for the journal. After our board meeting in April, we …
This post was originally featured on BioMed Central’s magazine Biome.
In order to create truly sustainable biofuels, researchers are investigating methods to produce bioethanol from waste plant dry matter, such as wood and straw, known as lignocellulosic feedstocks. The industrial yeast (S. cerevisiae) already used to make bioethanol from glucose-rich crops, such as maize and sugar cane, is not efficient at fermenting the pentose sugars (D-xylose and L-arabinose) found in waste lignocellulosic feedstocks. The woody parts of plants are also resistant to enzymatic degradation and require thermochemical pretreatment to release fermentable sugars. This additional step has the undesirable side effect of producing inhibitors to downstream enzymatic conversions. In a recent study published in Biotechnology for Biofuels, Johan Thevelein …
Biotechnology for Biofuels attended the 35th Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals (29th April – 1st May) hosted by the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (SIMB).
Jim McMillan (NREL, meeting co-organizer and Associate Editor for Biotechnology for Biofuels) opened the meeting. He mentioned the long history of the Symposium and how in recent years, the scope had become broader to include bio-based chemicals. Jim also spoke of climate change and the growing need for renewable biofuels. The opening keynote speaker, Lee Lynd (Dartmouth, MASCOMA corp.), focused upon cellulosic fuels and addressed three key questions/challenges faced by biofuels industry based around need, economics and land. Professor Lynd gave an interesting overview of sustainable intensification of land use …
Biotechnology for Biofuels will be exhibiting at 35th Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals next week (29th April – 1st May). As a special conference of the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (SIMB), this year’s symposium will be held in Portland, Oregon, hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The conference will span three and a half days, with technical topics covering feedstocks and conversion sciences, process development and biorefinery, as well as commercialization and sustainability. Our Associate Editor for Biotechnology for Biofuels, Jim McMillan, is one of the symposium organizers, whilst many of our Editorial Board Members have long associations with the symposium and will be in attendance. On Tuesday 30th April, …
Carbohydrate active enzymes are typically found in fungi including white rot, brown rot and plant pathogenic fungi. These micro-organisms degrade the complex matrix of the plant cell wall containing lignin, hemicelluloses, cellulose, polysacchariades and pectin. Since 1998, the CAZy database has carefully curated data on five families of carbohydrate active enzymes: glycoside hydrolases (GH), glycosyltransferases (GT), polysaccharide lyases (PL), carbohydrate esterases (CE), and carbohydrate-binding modules (CBM).
The recent discovery that some members of the CBM and GH enzyme families share a mode of action, as lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMO), has led the curators of CAZy to make a major update to the database. In their publication in Biotechnology for Biofuels, Levasseur and colleagues …
Sustainable Chemical Processes, a new open access journal published by Chemistry Central, sister publisher of BioMed Central, is now accepting submissions.
The journal has a broad scope, covering all scientific and engineering aspects of sustainable approaches in chemistry. This includes, but is not limited to, green routes to isolation, purification and synthesis of compounds; all aspects of catalysis and biocatalysis that lead to sustainable processes; approaches to reduce water consumption in chemical processes; and aspects of nanotechnology.
Some topics will be of particular interest to readers of Biotechnology for Biofuels such as biomass conversion and use of renewable resources, including valorization of agricultural and industrial waste. The journal will also publish research into biofuels and biorefineries, as well as …
Biotechnology for Biofuels is pleased to announce a special issue from the NSERC Bioconversion Network – a collaboration of academic and industry leaders, aimed at developing bio-based chemical and fuel products from forest biomass.
Edited by Jack Saddler and Linoj Kumar, the special issue brings together findings from a recent workshop, focusing on the pretreatment and fractionation of biomass for biofuels and biorefining. In an introductory Editorial, our guest editors provide an interesting report on the workshop, that covered discussion topics from fundamental science to challenges in commercialisation.
A major aim of the network is to exploit the production of high value chemical products, as well as bulk fuels from lignocellulosic biomass, so that bioproducts …