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Researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered that manipulation of a specific gene in a hardwood tree species not only makes it easier to break down the wood into fuel, but also significantly increases tree growth.
“This research gives us important clues about the genes that control plant structures and how we can manipulate them to our advantage,” said study co-author Debra Mohnen, BSRI Member and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
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Contact: Mohnen, Debra
The enthusiasm of more than 400 seventh-graders and their teachers bounced off the glass-windowed walls of the State Botanical Garden’s tropical conservatory Nov. 12 at the second annual Bioenergy Day @ UGA. It confirmed what its planners already knew: Hands-on science at UGA is a big hit, not only with students and their teachers, but also with UGA faculty and graduate students who participated.
“The kids are so excited,” said Carolyn Andrews, a seventh-grade science teacher at Coile Middle School. “Even though they are learning, they think it’s just fun.”Adolphson, Ryan
Although the energy landscape, in terms of electric power production, will likely not change significantly in the next 10 years in Georgia, The University of Georgia is making efforts to become more sustainable throughout campus. Recently that commitment has expanded to include plans to switch to a more energy-efficient electrode boiler in place of the long-contested coal boiler, providing heat and steam to the UGA Athens campus.Contact: Adolphson, Ryan
The survival of the vast majority of plants, including those that people rely on for food, depends on their ability to build strong but flexible cell walls. A key component of these walls is a polysaccharide called xylan. Researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered two proteins that play a critical role in the formation of this fundamental component of plant life, opening the doors for a new toolkit that may one day help scientists engineer improved plants for biofuels, construction materials, medicine and food production.Contact: York, William
An international team of scientists including researchers from the University of Georgia recently published the genome of Brassica napus-commonly known as canola-in the journal Science. Their discovery paves the way for improved versions of the plant, which is used widely in farming and industry.Contact: Paterson, ANDREW
The Bioenergy Systems Research Institute Annual Retreat was successfully held on May 2, 2014, at the UGA Hotel and Conference Center in Athens, GA. The retreat was considered the pre-eminent gathering of UGA bioenergy researchers and a medium to foster collaborations both within UGA and with bioenergy partners in industry, government, and other academic institutions. This year’s theme was The Future of Bioenergy.Contact: Cheng, Youyou
BSRI member, UGA scientist Jeff Dean, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, was among the authors of a paper about the sequencing of the loblolly pine genome — the largest of any genome sequence completed to date.Contact: Dean, Jeff
The Center for Integrative Conservation Research at the University of Georgia is hosting a Sustainability Science Symposium and Workshop on February 28, 2014, to address the challenges of sustainability. BSRI co-sponsors this event.Contact: Brosius, J
The first UGA-GA Tech Biofuels Summit was successfully held at the UGA Gwinnett Campus on December 17, 2013. The event was co-hosted by the UGA Bioenergy Systems Research Institute and the GA Tech Strategic Energy Institute. The goal was to familiarize the GA Tech Strategic Energy Institute and UGA BSRI members with the respective research programs and to set the foundation for cross-institutional collaborative research proposals for submission to funding agencies.Contact: Mohnen, Debra
The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities recently honored
UGA Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics professor Michael
Wetzstein with the National Teaching Award for Food and Agriculture
Nearly 200 seventh-graders learned about energy Tuesday at the University of Georgia’s first Bioenergy Day. UGA’s Bioenergy Systems Research Institute sponsored the event, with a lot of help from the federally funded BioEnergy Science Center and the Creative Discovery Museum of Chattanooga, Tenn.Contact: Cheng, Youyou
The University of Georgia Bioenergy Systems Research Institute is sponsoring the first Bioenergy Day @ UGA on Oct. 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the State Botanical Garden. The event is free and open to the public. UGA faculty and students will be on hand to guide more than 200 seventh-grade students from Hilsman Middle School and other visitors through the hands-on displays about producing renewable energy from biological sources. Interactive exhibits were developed by staff from the BioEnergy Science Center in collaboration with the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tenn., and the Southeast Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems.Contact: Cheng, Youyou
British scholars investigating ways to improve lakes’ water quality by converting aquatic
plants into farm fertilizer recently asked environmental sustainability
analyst Jason Evans at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government to speak about similar
research in the Southeastern United States.
BSRI is the proud sponsor of the International Union of Forest Research Organization (IUFRO) Tree Biotechnology 2013 Conference, held in Asheville (NC, USA) from May 26 to June 1, 2013. The Conference is the premier international venue for presenting and discussing new developments and ideas for current and future research in tree genetics, genomics and biotechnology.Contact: Dean, Jeffrey
Researchers at the University of Georgia have found a way to transform the carbon dioxide trapped in the atmosphere into useful industrial products. Their discovery may soon lead to the creation of biofuels made directly from the carbon dioxide in the air that is responsible for trapping the sun’s rays and raising global temperatures. More from The Scientist.Contact: Adams, Michael
The Southeastern Conference is best known for its high-powered football teams, but now the athletic conference is spending some of its money on academics. About 400 researchers, students and administrators have gathered at Atlanta’s Hyatt Regency to present academic papers and talk about renewable energy at the first “SEC Symposium.”Contact: Scott, Robert
The inaugural SEC Symposium, to be led by UGA, will be held Feb. 10-12 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. The theme of the symposium is “Impact of the Southeast in the World’s Renewable Energy Future.” Participation is open to UGA faculty, staff and students.Contact: Scott, Robert
A drought tolerant grass known as elephant grass or napiergrass that is fed to cattle in the tropics is being studied as a possible cellulosic ethanol feedstock in southern states, with encouraging results.Contact: Cheng, Youyou
University of Georgia researchers have taken an important step toward the goal of figuring out how to break down plants so that they easily release the simple sugars that can be processed into biofuels. They have identified a previously uncharacterized gene that plays a major role in cell wall development of Arabidopsis plants, a discovery that promises to help turn plants into biofuel more efficiently.Contact: York, William
BSRI welcomes Dr. Alan Darvill as its new director. Dr. Darvill is a Regents Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Plant Biology, Director of the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, and the UGA lead for the DOE BioEnergy Science Center. Dr. Darvill will work with Dr. Robert Scott, who becomes the Executive Director and assumes a more operational role, and Associate Director Ryan Adolphson to grow the institute.Contact: Cheng, Youyou
In the ongoing search for cleaner, renewable energy sources, biofuels derived from trees, shrubs and grasses have emerged as a strong candidate. But creating the next generation’s energy source is not as simple as growing a few crops; extensive research is required to ensure that these plants produce enough biomass and fuel per acre to make biomass farming economically viable.Contact: Tsai, Chung-jui
BSRI is pleased to announce the appointment of Ryan Adolphson as its Associate Director, effective 1 March 2012. BSRI will take advantage of Ryan’s expertise and skills in outreach, government, and corporate relations, as well as his broad knowledge of bioenergy field.Contact: Cheng, Youyou
Researchers at the University of Georgia have taken a major step in the ongoing effort to find sources of cleaner, renewable energy by mapping the genomes of two originator cells of Miscanthus x giganteus, a large perennial grass with promise as a source of ethanol and bioenergy.Contact: Paterson, Andrew
University of Georgia researchers are partnering with the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, on research to determine effective methods of turning algae biomass into biofuels. In addition to engineering research on the conversion technology, the team will also investigate the economic viability of this renewable energy strategy.Contact: Das, Keshav
A new partnership between UGA and Mendel Biotechnology focuses on miscanthus, a high-yielding perennial grass that can reach heights of more than 12 feet. Researchers are evaluating miscanthus for heat and electrical power generation and production of liquid transportation fuel and bioproducts.Contact: Paterson, ANDREW
A new technology has improved ethanol production by removing acetic acid – which inhibits microbial growth – from fermenting feedstocks, while simultaneously converting the mixed sugar stream into ethanol.
A new yeast strain is highly tolerant of the harsh chemical pretreatments needed to breakdown woody pine biomass, while a new combination of microorganisms is used to ferment high-pectin sugars into cellulosic ethanol.Contact: Peterson, Joy
University of Georgia researchers have discovered that two proteins come together in an unexpected way to make a carbohydrate, a chain of sugar molecules, in plant cell walls. This fundamental discovery changes the way scientists think about how plant cell walls are made and opens a new door to converting plants to biofuels and other carbon-based products.Contact: Mohnen, Debra
Researchers at the University of Georgia have developed a “super strain” of yeast that can efficiently ferment ethanol from pretreated pine-one of the most common species of trees in Georgia and the U.S. Their research could help biofuels replace gasoline as a transportation fuel.Contact: Peterson, Joy
The Bioenergy Systems Research Institute hosted a symposium on 19-20 September 2011 titled “Extremophiles: Key to Bioenergy?” to explore the use of microorganisms that grow in extreme environments (heat, cold, salinity, etc.) and their enzymes for conversion of biomass.Contact: Maier, Robert
UGA researchers have begun to employ a new technique, pyrolysis molecular beam-mass spectrometry, to characterize the lignin content of biomass and use these results to screen types of biomass and correlate lignin to the its viability for biofuel production. Very few facilities of this type are available in the world.Contact: Azadi, Parastoo
UGA researchers are attempting to increase productivity of trees by genetically modifying certain proteins critical to wood formation.
UGA researchers identify ways to enhance fast-growing algae as a source of biomass to produce biodiesel and methane for a local utility, as well as produce residual biomass for fertilizers, poultry feed and even plastics.Contact: Das, Keshav
University of Georgia researchers have developed a new technology that promises to dramatically increase the yield of ethanol from readily available non-food crops, such as Bermudagrass, switchgrass, Napiergrass-and even yard waste.Contact: Peterson, Joy
UGA engineers are finding ways to optimize efficiency and productivity of low-moisture biomass, which is heated at high temperatures in the absence of air to produces gas, fuel oil and biochar, a dense charcoal-like substance that sequesters atmospheric carbon in the soil and adds nutrients.