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 …
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 …
The production of biodiesel from single-celled microalgae has been receiving renewed research attention, as evidenced by a growth spurt in publications on microalgal biofuel this year. Meanwhile, Scottish researchers working on the Biomara project argue that coastal temperate regions should make fuel from macroalgae (seaweed) instead.
In a recent article published in Biotechnology for Biofuels, Adam Hughes and colleagues review the technological advances and requirements for cultivation of seaweed, for anaerobic conversion into biogas, principally methane. Seaweed culture techniques have been advancing in China in the last 50 years, to the point that seaweed grown for food and other high-value bio-products is now China’s biggest aquaculture business.
The main advantages of marine based seaweed cultivation for biofuel are …
For biofuels to become more sustainable, lignocellulosic biomass from trees, grasses and plant stems is an appealing alternative to resource-heavy energy crops such as canola and maize. However, the high lignin content of second generation feedstocks makes them naturally recalcitrant to processing into fuel. While chemical engineers, microbiologists and enzymologists have made strides to overcome these issues, plant biologists are increasingly employed to create fuel crops that will profit the biofuel industry.
Biotechnology for Biofuels is pleased to announce a special thematic series focusing on the development of crops for enhanced fuel production. The series covers genetic improvement of plant biomass traits to increase bio-production and benefit downstream processes such as enzymatic conversion, fermentation, pyrolysis and gasification.
An undesirable trait …
The formal EU proposal and 5% cap on land use for biofuel production was announced this week – closely followed by a backlash from the biofuels industry and environmental groups alike. Environmentalists are disappointed that the new legislation does not go far enough. The EU will require reporting on the indirect land use cost (iLUC) of biofuels production, however, the fuel producer will not be held accountable or penalised for iLUC. The proposal also fails to restrict the amount of first generation fuel that can be consumed. Meanwhile, the concern of the biofuels industry is that the swing in policy will derail investment and employment, encouraged under the 2009 directive.
Writing in the Guardian newspaper, Clare Wenner …
An EU policy U-turn was announced earlier this month, with draft legislation to impose limits across Europe on land-use for fuel crop production. Climate change Comissioner, Connie Hedegaard, proposes to cap land-use in Europe for biofuel production at 5% (currently 4.5%) and end subsidies for biomass production by 2020.
EU policy has previously supported a multi-billion euro biofuel industry, in order to reach a target of 10% renewable transport fuels by 2020. The withdrawal of backing for biofuels results from concerns about indirect land use change (iLUC). A study by Chris Malins of the the International Council on Clean Transportation illustrates how biofuel crop production in Europe, has knock-on effects on the amount of land needed globally …
Bärbel Hahn-Hägerdal retired from her role as joint Editor-in-Chief for Biotechnology for Biofuels at the end of June. Huge thanks are due to Bärbel for being a champion of the journal, throughout the first five years since launch, and we are glad to see her work rewarded by the journal’s remarkable growth and success. We are pleased welcome James du Preez (University of the Free State, South Africa) as Bärbel’s successor. James joins Mike Himmel, Debra Mohnen and Charles Wyman as joint Editor-in-Chief.
James’s research interests are in the field of fermentation biotechnology with a special interest in continuous (chemostat) cultures, yeast physiology and the application of microbial cells for the production of metabolites in submerged culture. James …
Excellent news for Biotechnology for Biofuels came with the 2011 edition of Thomson Reuters’ Journal Citation Reports, released on June 28th 2012. The Impact Factor for Biotechnology for Biofuels increased from 4.15 to 6.09, placing the journal at the top of the its field, with the highest impact of all specialist biofuel journals.
The 2011 Impact Factor is calculated from the number of citations counted in 2011, to articles that were published in the journal during 2009 and 2010. Some of the most highly cited articles published in 2009 and 2010 are highlighted below:
Park, S., Baker, J.O., Himmel, M.E., Parilla, P.A., Johnson, D.K.(2010)
Cellulose crystallinity index: Measurement techniques and their impact on interpreting cellulase performance
Cited 47 …
The demise of investment in Jatropha was reported in a previous post in this blog in 2009. Amidst controversy over the water footprint of Jatropha (in which the crop was found to yield a poor energy return per unit of water) BP backed out of a $160 million joint venture with D1 oils to exploit Jatropha for biodiesel. D1 oils have since admitted their own disappointment in Jatropha agronomy and announced a cutback in their operations, under the shadow of falling share prices, last September.
As predicted, research efforts in breeding and genetics continue, with the goal of producing elite hybrids of Jatropha driven by the growing demand for high quality biodiesel (particularly for aviation). A study …