Thursday, October 21, 2010, 4:00 pm — Berkner Hall Auditorium
Today, the world relies on fossil fuels as a primary energy resource. This resource, however, is limited and associated with rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In consequence, the search for renewable biofuels has become increasingly vital. Solutions thus far have focused on first-generation biofuels, such as corn ethanol and biodiesel. But this is not enough. Chang-Jun Liu of the Biology Department discusses how he and his colleagues are studying a more abundant and environmentally friendly renewable energy source â€" lignocellulosic biomass â€" found in plant cell walls. Liu explaines, plant cell walls provide unlimited quantities of renewable biomass. However, the intertwined lignin and cellulose that make up the cell walls resist decomposition, so obtaining energy from cellulosic biomass is a challenge. Liu and his colleagues are exploring the biosynthesis and molecular regulation of plant cell walls, particularly that of the most formidable polymer â€" lignin. With this knowledge, they will develop novel strategies to tailor plant cell wall's structure and composition for efficient biofuel and biomaterial production.
Hosted by: Steve Musolino
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