Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Searching in the microbial world for efficient ways to produce biofuel

Date:
September 23, 2010
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
With the help of genetic materials from a cow's rumen, scientists are developing new ways to break down plant fibers for conversion into biofuel.

Twelve genes from cow stomach bacteria may provide a new way to convert corn stover (shown here) into biofuel.
Credit: Wally Wilhelm

With the help of genetic materials from a cow's rumen, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are developing new ways to break down plant fibers for conversion into biofuel.

To convert corn stover and switchgrass into biofuel, the plant fibers must first be broken down into sugars. But cell wall polymers are cross-linked in various ways that make them very resistant to breaking down, according to Dominic Wong, a chemist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Western Regional Research Center, in Albany, Calif.

Previous studies have shown that a special group of enzymes known as feruloyl esterases (FAEs) are capable of breaking apart key links between the polymers, and that the enzymes are produced by certain types of microbes that degrade plant materials. Wong collected the microbial population from a cow's rumen, and screened their genetic compositions to find genes that produce FAE enzymes.

Working with scientific partners at Cargill, Wong has isolated, sequenced and cloned 12 genes capable of being introduced into Escherichia coli for production of the enzymes, which can then be used to break loose the polymeric network in the plant cell wall. Wong and the Cargill team have filed a provisional patent application on the FAE genes and enzymes.

In addition to increasing the efficiency of biomass conversion to biofuel, the enzymes could also be used to enhance the digestibility and the nutritional qualities of animal feeds, aid in the development of nutritional supplements, and prove useful in the development of other value-added products.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Dennis O'Brien. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Searching in the microbial world for efficient ways to produce biofuel." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100922102348.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2010, September 23). Searching in the microbial world for efficient ways to produce biofuel. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100922102348.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Searching in the microbial world for efficient ways to produce biofuel." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100922102348.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2014) A 9-year-old Michigan boy was exploring a creek when he came across a 10,000-year-old tooth from a prehistoric mastodon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins