How tiny enzymes reign supreme in worldwide carbon recycling

The recycling of most of the carbon in nature depends on the breakdown of two polymers in woody matter, notably cellulose and lignin. In a paper just published in the journal Biochemistry, Richard Wolfenden, Ph.D., and colleague ...

Turning wood into pharmaceutical ingredients

Production of hazardous waste during drug manufacturing is a serious concern for the pharmaceutical industry. Typically, large amounts of flammable solvents are used during these processes, which usually require several steps ...

Analyzing the world's oldest woody plant fossil

Mapping the evolution of life on Earth requires a detailed understanding of the fossil record, and scientists are using synchrotron-based technologies to look back—way, way back—at the cell structure and chemistry of ...

Supercomputing improves biomass fuel conversion

Fuels made from agricultural or forestry wastes known as lignocellulosic biomass have long been a champion in the quest to reduce use of fossil fuels. But plant cell walls have some innate defenses that make the process to ...

Forest and sea residues strengthen the stomach

With the help of forest residues such as sawdust, branches and tops (GROT), and cellulose from sea squirts, researchers in Biochemical Process Engineering at Luleå University of Technology want to make our stomach to feel ...

Scientists identify a novel target for corn straw utilization

Plant cell walls, as repositories of fixed carbon, are an important source of biomass, which is mainly composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. However, the complex lignin structure makes it a rather inefficient ...

Engineered microbe may be key to producing plastic from plants

With a few genetic tweaks, a type of soil bacteria with an appetite for hydrocarbons shows promise as a biological factory for converting a renewable—but frustratingly untapped—bounty into a replacement for ubiquitous ...

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