Bioenergy and biorenewables

Prosiect: Ymchwil a ariannwyd yn allanol

Manylion y Prosiect


Optimized harvesting, storage and processing of plant biomass are essential for the efficient recovery of bioenergy and other biorenewables. The characterisation of traits linked to post-harvest deterioration of biomass will provide targets for plant breeding and information for the development and optimization of technologies to minimise the losses which occur via respiration, tissue damage, senescence and microbial degradation. Respiration and microbial activity will potentially result in carbon losses while senescence ultimately results in hydrolysis of carbohydrates, nucleic acids and protein polymers and cell wall degradation. Wounding typically results in increased polyphenol oxidase (PPO) and peroxidase activity. These enzymes are present in Miscanthus and Lolium leaf tissues. Polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase activities result in the production of quinones which readily bind with proteins and other plant components with nucleolphilic sites such as cell-wall phenolics. The implications of these enzyme activities are an inactivation of plant hydrolytic enzymes, and a decreased degradability of cell walls and lipids. These changes may have adverse effects on biomass fermentation by preventing plant enzyme activity from increasing bioavailability and by making cell-walls less degradable. Alternatively, these properties may prevent carbon losses via respiration and microbial activity and may be of benefit for thermal conversion processes. This sub-programme involves biochemical and transcriptomic studies on post-harvest biomass. This data is also been related to senescence and enzyme activities, eg. for PPO/ peroxidase/ glycosidase. Changes in potential natural products, as detected by LC-MS are being characterised and linked to transcript analyses. The objective is to identify molecular markers and genes associated to QTL for post-harvest traits in biorenewable crops. Candidate genes and associated regulatory regions will be functionally tested in Miscanthus.

Canfyddiadau allweddol

To encourage the large scale planting of energy crops requires greater economic returns to growers. This is possible through yield increases, market forces (increases in oil prices), governmental policies (subsidies or carbon taxes) and through the extraction of greater value from biomass. Biorefining offers a technological solution to extracting greater value from biomass and can include natural product chemistry to identify high value chemicals or the transformation of biomass components to higher value components (e.g. plastics from sugars and proteins, and carbon fibre from lignin). Potential high value chemicals have been identified in a number of plants including recently in Miscanthus.
A major problem in European uplands is land abandonment because of changes in common agricultural policies (CAP) subsidies and this is having a negative impact on biodiversity in areas with environmentally protected status, e.g. Natura 2000. IBERS worked with collaborators in Germany and Estonia to use bioenergy as a means to help fund the management of environmentally sensitive areas of land. This included both lab and pilot scale activities for the harvest, storage and utilisation of an ensiled feedstock from Natura grassland to characterise the variation in and opportunities for this resource.
StatwsWedi gorffen
Dyddiad cychwyn/gorffen dod i rym01 Ebr 200801 Ion 2020


  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (Funder reference unknown): £2,080,958.00

Ôl bys

Archwilio’r pynciau ymchwil mae a wnelo'r prosiect hwn â nhw. Mae’r labelau hyn yn cael eu cynhyrchu’n seiliedig ar y dyfarniadau/grantiau sylfaenol. Gyda’i gilydd maen nhw’n ffurfio ôl bys unigryw.