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Bionic Liquids from Lignin

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Bionic liquids – solvents made from lignin and hemicellulose, two by-products of biofuel production – show great promise for liberating fermentable sugars from lignocellulose and improving the economics of biofuels refineries.

How Sweet It Is: New Tool for Characterizing Plant Sugar Transporters Developed at Joint BioEnergy Institute

A family of six nucleotide sugar transporters never before  described have been characterized in Arabidopsis, a model plant for research in advanced biofuels. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt)

JBEI researchers have developed a powerful new tool that can help advance the genetic engineering of “fuel” crops for clean, green and renewable bioenergy – an assay that enables scientists to identify and characterize the function of nucleotide sugar transporters, critical components in the biosynthesis of plant cell walls.

The iCLEM Program: An Atypical Summer Job for Bay Area High School Students

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Eight Bay Area high school students are participating in this summer’s iCLEM program, earning money and gaining “college knowledge” while conducting bioenergy research in the state-of-the-art scientific laboratories of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI).

Berkeley Lab Wins Three 2014 R&D 100 Awards

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Berkeley Lab has won three 2014 R&D 100 awards. This year’s winners include a fast way to analyze the chemical composition of cells, a suite of genetic tools to improve crops, and a method to screen images of 3-D cell cultures for cancer cells. The technologies could lead to advances in biofuels, food crops, drug development, and biomaterials, and a to better understanding of microbial communities, to name a few potential benefits.

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.

Evolution of a Bimetallic Nanocatalyst

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Atomic-scale snapshots of a bimetallic nanoparticle catalyst in action could help improve the industrial process by which fuels and chemicals are synthesized from natural gas, coal or plant biomass.

Resistance is Not Futile: Joint BioEnergy Institute Researchers Engineer Resistance to Ionic Liquids in Biofuel Microbes

Researchers with the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified the genetic origins of a microbial resistance to ionic liquids and successfully introduced this resistance into a strain of E. coli bacteria for the production of advanced biofuels.

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.

Less Toxic Metabolites, More Chemical Product

By preventing the build-up of toxic metabolites in engineered microbes, a dynamic regulatory system developed at JBEI can help boost production of an advanced biofuel, a therapeutic drug, or other valuable chemical products. The system has already been used to double the production in E. coli of amorphadiene, a precursor to the premier antimalarial drug artemisinin.

JBEI Technoeconomic Model: The Sequels

JBEI researchers are developing wiki-based technoeconomic models to help accelerate the development of next generation biofuels that are economically competitive with petroleum-based fuels.