News from IBSS

May 2014

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May 2014
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Effects of Altered Lignin Biosynthesis on Phenylpropanoid Metabolism and Plant Stress  

 

Modification of lignin in bioenergy feedstocks has become a common strategy to increase saccharification and biofuel yield. The lignin biosynthetic pathway in several plant species has been dissected and key enzymes have been manipulated in transgenic plants. Recent analyses of lignin-modified plants have shown that decreasing lignin biosynthesis can alter carbon flow within the phenylpropanoid pathway and indirectly affect the synthesis of other secondary metabolites, many of which can play important roles in plant-environment interactions. In addition, lignin modifications have also been shown to induce the expression of various stress response-related genes. Examining and understanding these indirect effects of lignin modification on stress-related processes are essential, since they could ultimately impact the performance of low-lignin bioenergy feedstocks under agronomic field conditions. Recent efforts to characterize such effects will be discussed in this review.  (MORE)
 
                                                                                         

Press Release! Fast-Growing Trees May Yield High Returns for Biorefineries

 

COLUMBUS, Miss. - Researchers continue to seek affordable, sustainable substitutes for petroleum-based fuels and products, and while grain- and grass-based drop-in fuels have received a lot of press, scientists have been quietly focused on another potential raw material: wood.

Based on two years of successful experiments in the Southeast and Pacific Northwest with fast-growing cottonwood and hybrid poplars, the Southeastern Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems (IBSS), Advanced Hardwood Biofuels (AHB) and GreenWood Resources have partnered to develop Phase I of a commercial demonstration located in east central Mississippi near Columbus. The 65-acre planting is in close proximity to a local biorefinery. Four cottonwood varieties and five hybrid poplar varieties are being planted this spring and fall, with harvest planned for the winter of 2017. (MORE
 
                                                                                         

IBSS Teaching Module: Using Biochar as a Soil Amendment

 

The UT conversion team has created an education module that pertains to the use of biochar as a soil amendment. In this module, students will use biochar in an effort to determine what affect it has on the growth of various types of seeds. Students will plant seeds in the presence and absence of biochar and monitor the growth of the plants for a period of time. Comparisons in crop yield will demonstrate the effects of biochar as a soil amendment. This module is designed to align with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. This module is suitable for middle and high school students. To download this module and and view other teaching material, please visit the IBSS Teaching Materials page.

The UT conversion team is currently working on a second education module that pertains to the construction of an inverted updraft biomass gasifier using soup cans. (MORE)
The IBSS Partnership is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2011-68005-30410 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
 
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