Industrial biotechnology news
Manufacturing biofuels from food crop by-products such as straw could be made quicker and cheaper thanks to the work of scientists in the UK and France. Researchers funded by BBSRC have discovered variant straw plants whose cell walls are more easily broken down to make biofuels, but which are not significantly smaller or weaker than regular plants.
A BBSRC-funded team at the University of Warwick is investigating how to use methane-producing microbes, known as methanogens, to generate renewable biofuels. Combusting methane can provide a large amount of energy.
BBSRC-funded scientists at the University of York are playing a key role in the quest for a better understanding of how a recently discovered family of enzymes can degrade hard-to-digest biomass into its constituent sugars. The enzymes – lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) – are secreted by both fungi and bacteria and have the ability to ‘chip away’ at cellulose and other intractable materials.