Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
AgriGenomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Significant Step Forward in Biofuels Quest

Published: Monday, December 23, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, December 23, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Researchers from the Department of Chemistry at York have discovered a family of enzymes that can degrade hard-to-digest biomass into its constituent sugars.

Scientists at the University of York have made a significant step in the search to develop effective second generation biofuels.

‘First generation’ biofuels have already made an impact in the search for renewable and secure energy sources particularly through the generation of bioethanol manufactured from easy-to-digest food sources such as corn starch. 

But the resulting need for energy crops is using up valuable arable land threatening food price stability and limiting the amount of biofuel that can be made in this way. 

The use of ‘difficult-to-digest’ sources, such as plant stems, wood chips, cardboard waste or insect / crustacean shells, offers a potential solution.  Fuel made from these sources is known as ‘second generation’ biofuels.  Finding a way of breaking down these sources into their constituent sugars to allow them to be fermented through to bioethanol is regarded as the ‘Holy Grail’ of biofuel research.  

Reported today in Nature Chemical Biology, the new research was led by Professor Paul Walton and Professor Gideon Davies at York and also involved Professor Bernie Henrissat, of CNRS, Aix-Marseille Université, Marseille, France. It opens up major new possibilities in the production of bioethanol from sustainable sources.

By studying the biological origins and the detailed chemistry of the enzyme family, the researchers have shown that Nature has a wide range of methods of degrading biomass which humankind can now harness in its own endeavour to produce sustainable biofuels. 

Professor Walton says: “There’s no doubt that this discovery will have an impact on not only those researchers around the globe working on how to solve the problems associated with second generation biofuel generation, but—more importantly—also on the producers of bioethanol who now have a further powerful tool to help them generate biofuel from sustainable sources such as waste plant matter.”

The research at York was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). 


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,100+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Plant Variants Point the Way to Improved Biofuel Production
Manufacturing biofuels from food crop by-products such as straw could be made quicker and cheaper thanks to a new study led by scientists at the University of York.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Gene discovery could help to boost crop yields
A discovery by scientists at the University of York of a vital feature of a plant's temperature sensing and growth mechanism could help to increase yields from crops.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Scientific News
World’s Largest Coral Gene Database
‘Genetic toolkit’ will help shed light on which species survive climate change.
A Peachy Defense System for Seeds
ETH chemists are developing a new coating method to protect seeds from being eaten by insects. In doing so, they have drawn inspiration from the humble peach and a few of its peers.
Roundup Impacts Gene Expression
Study published on the impact of low-dose toxicity of Roundup weed-killer on gene expression profiles.
Meaningful Part of Maize Genome Defined
FSU-Cornell team show that a small percentage of the maize genome is responsible for 40 percent of a plant’s trait diversity.
Plant Stem Cell Discovery Points to Increased Yields
Braking signals from the leaves tell stem cells to stop proliferating.
Plasma Dose Improves Agricultural Crop Harvests
Researchers at Japan have developed a technique to improve crop yields by treating seeds prior to planting with a safe dose of plasma radiation.
TGAC Installs Largest SGI UV 300 Supercomputer for Life Sciences
The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) partners with Global HPC hardware giant SGI to address the most complex problems in genomics analysis.
Carrot Genome Uncovered
Carrot genome paints picture of domestication, could help improve crops.
Flowering Regulation Mechanism Discovered
Monash researchers have discovered a new mechanism that enables plants to regulate their flowering in response to raised temperatures.
Nanoparticles Present Sustainable Way to Grow Food Crops
Nanoparticle technology can help reduce the need for fertilizer, creating a more sustainable way to grow crops such as mung beans.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,100+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!