|Research Areas & Activities Solar Energy Biomass Energy Sythesis of Biofuels on Bioelectrodes Capturing Electrical Current via Microbes to Produce Methane Efficient, Highly Productive Hydrogen Production from Glucose Novel Mutants Optimized for Lignin, Growth and Biofuel Production via Re-Mutagenesis The Climate-Protective Domain Efficient Biomass Conversion: Delineating the Best Lignin Monomer-Substitutes Assembly of a Lignin Modification Toolbox Towards New Degradable Lignin Types Microbial Synthesis of Biodiesel Directed Evolution of Novel Yeast Species Genetic Engineering of Cellulose Accumulation Hydrogen Advanced Combustion CO2 Capture CO2 Storage Advanced Materials & Catalysts Advanced Coal Advanced Transportation Advanced Electric Grid Grid Storage Other Renewables Integrated Assessment Advanced Nuclear Energy Geoengineering Exploratory Efforts All Activities Analysis Activities Technical Reports||
Efficient Biomass Conversion: Delineating the Best Lignin Monomer-Substitutes
Start Date: December 2008
John Ralph, Xuejun Pan, and Sara Patterson, University of Wisconsin, Madison
To delineate a set of approaches for successfully altering lignin structure, in a way that allows plant cell wall breakdown to produce biofuels in more energy-efficient manner, by providing alternative plant-compatible monomers to the lignification process.
Over the past decade it has become apparent that the metabolic malleability of lignification, the process of polymerization of phenolic monomers to produce lignin polymers, provides enormous potential for engineering the resistant polymer to be more amenable to processing. Massive compositional changes can be realized by perturbing single genes in the monolignol pathway, particularly the hydroxylases. More strikingly, monomer substitution in the process of lignification, particularly in cases where a plant’s ability to biosynthesize the usual complement of monolignols is compromised, has been observed. These substitutions include products of incomplete monolignol biosynthesis such as 5-hydroxyconiferyl alcohol, ferulic acid, and coniferaldehyde and sinapaldehyde. This suggests that lignin composition can be altered leading to plants with characteristics for improved processing to biofuels.
ApproachTo delineate the best monolignol substitutes, promising plant-compatible precursors (monomers) will be synthesized and tested for their compatibility with lignification in biomimetic systems (Figure 1). Improvements in biomass processing from the incorporation of these new monolignols will be elucidated in biomimetic cell wall systems.
Restricted Use of Materials from GCEP Site: User may download materials from GCEP site only for User's own personal, non-commercial use. User may not otherwise copy, reproduce, retransmit, distribute, publish, commercially exploit or otherwise transfer any material without obtaining prior GCEP or author approval.