Scientists Discover Genes to Better Grass to Energy Production
(Biofuels International) Scientists from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Sustainable Bioenergy Centre (BSBEC) have uncovered a series of genes which could help grasses being breed with better characteristics for bioenergy production.
The genes help to better develop the wood part of the grass, called the fibrous, such as what is in rice and wheat. In understanding how these genes operate, the scientists hope to be able to discover how to breed crops so that they need less energy to turn them into biofuels.
Most of the energy in the plants is stored in the woody part but it is difficult to access this energy. However, the researchers discovered that they could create multi-use crops where the straw could be used to create energy more efficiently.
… ‘What we hope to do with this research is to produce varieties of plants where the woody parts yield their energy much more readily – but without compromising the structure of the plant. We think that one way to do this might be to modify the genes that are involved in the formation of a molecule called xylan – a crucial structural component of plants.’ READ MORE