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Postcards from the Photosynthetic Edge

Photosytem II utilizes a water-splitting manganese-calcium enzyme that when energized by sunlight catalyzes a four photon-step cycle of oxidation states that ultimately yields molecular oxygen.

Using the world’s most powerful x-ray laser, an international collaboration led by Berkeley Lab researchers took femtosecond “snapshots” of water oxidation in photosystem II, the only known biological system able to harness sunlight for splitting the water molecule. The results should help advance the development of artificial photosynthesis for clean, green and renewable energy.

The JBEI GT Collection: A New Resource for Advanced Biofuels Research

The JBEI GT Collection, the first glycosyltransferase clone collection specifically targeted for the study of plant cell wall biosynthesis, features GT clones of rice (shown here) and Arabidopsis plants. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt)

The JBEI GT Collection, the first glycosyltransferase clone collection specifically targeted for the study of plant cell wall biosynthesis, is expected to drive basic scientific understanding of GTs and better enable the manipulation of plant cell walls for the production of biofuels and other chemical products.

What About BOB?

The Berkeley Open Biofoundry – BOB – is a Berkeley Lab proposal to DARPA aimed at providing the science and technology that will enable the engineering of biological systems to produce valuable chemical products on a commercial scale.

Lignin-Feasting Microbe Holds Promise for Biofuels

Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified a rain forest microbe that feasts on the lignin in plant leaf litter, making it a potential ally for the cost-effective production of advanced biofuels.

One-Pot to Prep Biomass for Biofuels:

Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) researchers save water and reduce pollution with the first one-pot, wash-free, process for the ionic liquid pretreatment and saccharification of switchgrass, one of the leading biofuel feedstock candidates.

Microbial Who-Done-It For Biofuels

A multi-institutional collaboration led by researchers with the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and Joint Genome Institute (JGI) has developed a promising technique for identifying microbial enzymes that can effectively deconstruct biomass into fuel sugars under refinery processing conditions.

Clean, Green High Performance Biofuels from Carbon Dioxide

Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have engineered a microbe to produce high-performance diesel fuel from the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide rather than from the sugars in cellulosic biomass.

Testing Artificial Photosynthesis

Berkeley Lab researchers, working at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), have developed the first fully integrated microfluidic test-bed for evaluating and optimizing solar-driven electrochemical energy conversion systems.

Turning Up the Heat on Biofuels

Researchers with the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) have employed a promising technique for improving the ability of cellulase enzymes to operate at advantageously high temperatures.

New Advance in Biofuel Production

JBEI researchers have developed an enzyme-free ionic liquid pretreatment of cellulosic biomass that makes it easier to recover fermentable sugars for biofuels and to recycle the ionic liquid.