U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Improving Access to Cellulose in Biomass for Biofuel Production
Published: March 01, 2011
Posted: April 08, 2011

The conversion of cellulosic biomass to fermentable sugars usually requires costly, time-consuming pretreatment to increase the material’s porosity, decrease its crystallinity, and reduce the amount of structural lignin in the cell wall. Researchers used small-angle neutron scattering at the High-Flux Isotope Reactor to probe the morphological changes of switchgrass cell walls during dilute acid pretreatment, elucidating the interplay of different biomolecular components in the breakdown process. The results are important for the development of efficient strategies to convert biomass to biofuel.

Reference: Pingali, S. V., et al. 2010. “Breakdown of Cell Wall Nanostructure in Dilute Acid Pretreated Biomass,” Biomacromolecules 11, 2329–35.

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Plant Systems and Feedstocks, Plant-Microbe Interactions
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: Structural Biology, Biomolecular Characterization and Imaging
  • Research Area: Structural Biology Infrastructure

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

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