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New Way to Reduce Plant Lignin Could Lead to Cheaper Biofuels

Scientists have shown that an enzyme can be tweaked to reduce lignin in plants. Their technique could help lower the cost of converting biomass into carbon-neutral fuels to power your car and other sustainably developed bio-products.

One-Stop Shop for Biofuels

Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a “high-gravity” one-pot process for producing ethanol from cellulosic biomass that gives unprecedented yields while minimizing water use and waste disposal.

JBEI Joins Elite 100/500 Club

The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) is now a member of the elite “100/500 Club,” having filed its 100th patent application and published its 500th scientific paper. JBEI is a DOE Bioenergy Research Center led by Berkeley Lab.

Unlocking the Rice Immune System

JBEI, UC Davis and Berkeley Lab researchers have identified a bacterial signaling molecule that triggers an immunity response in rice plants, enabling the plants to resist a devastating blight disease. Rice is not only a staple food, it is the model for grass-type advanced biofuels.

Biofuel Proteomics: Joint BioEnergy Institute Researchers Use Proteomics to Profile Switchgrass

JBEI researchers used advanced proteomic techniques to identify 1,750 unique proteins in shoots of switchgrass, a native prairie grass viewed as one of the most promising of all the plants that could be used to produce advanced biofuels.

Sweet Smell of Success: JBEI Researchers Boost Methyl Ketone Production in E. coli

JBEI researchers have engineered E. coli bacteria to convert glucose into significant quantities of methyl ketones, a class of chemical compounds primarily used for fragrances and flavors, but highly promising as clean, green and renewable blending agents for diesel fuel.

New Lab Startup Afingen Uses Precision Method to Enhance Plants

By manipulating a plant’s metabolic pathways, two scientists at Berkeley Lab, Henrik Scheller and Dominique Loqué, have figured out a way to genetically rewire plants to allow for an exceptionally high level of control over the spatial pattern of gene expression, while at the same time boosting expression to very high levels. Now they have launched a startup company called Afingen to apply this technology for developing low-cost biofuels that could be cost-competitive with gasoline and corn ethanol.

Boosting Biogasoline Production in Microbes

Researchers with the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified microbial genes that can improve both the tolerance and the production of biogasoline in engineered strains of E. coli.

MaxBin: Automated Sorting Through Metagenomes

MaxBin is an automated software program for binning the genomes of individual microbial species from metagenomic sequences developed at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI).

Bionic Liquids from Lignin

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.