The Science of Coming Undone: Plant Style
What if you could fill your car with fuel made from the plant material that's not used as either food or feed, such as poplar trees or switchgrass? The scientists at the Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation believe that understanding how cell walls are made will make it easier to take the plant matter apart to convert to biofuels. By looking at the molecular level using various techniques, they overthrew the conventional model of cell walls. They found that the cell wall strength is controlled at limited cellulose-xyloglucan junctions. This knowledge may provide a new target to break down biomass for bioenergy applications. The center is led by Pennsylvania State University.
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