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Advancements in Biomass Recalcitrance: The Use of Lignin for the Production of Fuels and Chemicals

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889457069 Year: Pages: 103 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-706-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: General and Civil Engineering --- Biotechnology
Added to DOAB on : 2019-01-23 14:53:43
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Lignocellulosic biomass has great potentials as an alternative feedstock for fuels and chemicals. For effective utilization of biomass, biomass recalcitrance, which is inherent resistance of plant cell walls to biological deconstruction, needs to be reduced. Among many factors in biomass, lignin is significantly related to biomass recalcitrance. Lignin, a complex aromatic polymer, is the largest non-carbohydrate component (15-40% dry weight) in most terrestrial plants. In nature, it provides a structural integrity, facilitates water and nutrient transport, and protects plants from microbial attack. From a different angle, lignin significantly contributes to biomass recalcitrance, so it is necessary to reduce and/or modify the lignin for effective conversion of biomass. Genetic modifications of the lignin biosynthetic pathway and lignin-targeting pretreatments have been developed to minimize the lignin-induced biomass recalcitrance. High carbon content of lignin also renders it an attractive feedstock for many applications. About 100,000 to 200,000 tons of lignin can be generated per year as a byproduct from cellulosic ethanol production, so valorization of these lignins could be one of keys for achieving economic biorefinery. However, investigations of lignin conversion have not been accomplished as the utilization of carbohydrates in biomass. Depolymerization of lignin is still challenging because of its broad distribution of bond strengths, recondensation of low-molecular species, and poor product selectivity. Diverse biological and thermochemical depolymerization methods have been investigated to overcome these barriers. In this Research Topic, recent advancements in biomass recalcitrance by effective utilization of lignin are introduced.

Bioethanol

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ISBN: 9789535100089 Year: Pages: 304 DOI: 10.5772/850 Language: English
Publisher: IntechOpen
Subject: Chemical Technology
Added to DOAB on : 2019-10-03 07:51:48

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Recent studies have shown strong evidence of human activity impact on the climate of the planet. Higher temperatures and intensification of extreme weather events such as hurricanes are among the consequences. This scenario opens up several possibilities for what is now called ""green"" or low carbon economy. We are talking about creating new businesses and industries geared to develop products and services with low consumption of natural resources and reduced greenhouse gases emission. Within this category of business, biofuels is a highlight and the central theme of this book. The first section presents some research results for first generation ethanol production from starch and sugar raw materials. Chapters in the second section present results on some efforts around the world to develop an efficient technology for producing second-generation ethanol from different types of lignocellulosic materials. While these production technologies are being developed, different uses for ethanol could also be studied. The chapter in the third section points to the use of hydrogen in fuel cells, where this hydrogen could be produced from ethanol.

The Importance of Biological Interactions in the Study of Biodiversity

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ISBN: 9789533077512 Year: Pages: 404 DOI: 10.5772/1831 Language: English
Publisher: IntechOpen
Subject: Chemical Technology
Added to DOAB on : 2019-10-03 09:47:08

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The term biodiversity defines not only all the variety of life in the Earth but also their complex interactions. Under the current scenario of biodiversity loss, and in order to preserve it, it is essential to achieve a deep understanding on all the aspects related to the biological interactions, including their functioning and significance. This volume contains several contributions (nineteen in total) that illustrate the state of the art of the academic research in the field of biological interactions in its widest sense; that is, not only the interactions between living organisms are considered, but also those between living organisms and abiotic elements of the environment as well as those between living organisms and the humans.

Genetic and Genome-Wide Insights into Microbes Studied for Bioenergy

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889450855 Year: Pages: 186 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-085-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Microbiology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-07-06 13:27:36
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The global mandate for safer, cleaner and renewable energy has accelerated research on microbes that convert carbon sources to end-products serving as biofuels of the so-called first, second or third generation – e.g., bioethanol or biodiesel derived from starchy, sugar-rich or oily crops; bioethanol derived from composite lignocellulosic biomass; and biodiesels extracted from oil-producing algae and cyanobacteria, respectively. Recent advances in ‘omics’ applications are beginning to cast light on the biological mechanisms underlying biofuel production. They also unravel mechanisms important for organic solvent or high-added-value chemical production, which, along with those for fuel chemicals, are significant to the broader field of Bioenergy. The Frontiers in Microbial Physiology Research Topic that led to the current e-book publication, operated from 2013 to 2014 and welcomed articles aiming to better understand the genetic basis behind Bioenergy production. It invited genetic studies of microbes already used or carrying the potential to be used for bioethanol, biobutanol, biodiesel, and fuel gas production, as also of microbes posing as promising new catalysts for alternative bioproducts. Any research focusing on the systems biology of such microbes, gene function and regulation, genetic and/or genomic tool development, metabolic engineering, and synthetic biology leading to strain optimization, was considered highly relevant to the topic. Likewise, bioinformatic analyses and modeling pertaining to gene network prediction and function were also desirable and therefore invited in the thematic forum. Upon e-book development today, we, at the editorial, strongly believe that all articles presented herein – original research papers, reviews, perspectives and a technology report – significantly contribute to the emerging insights regarding microbial-derived energy production. Katherine M. Pappas, 2016

Biomass Modification, Characterization and Process Monitoring Analytics to Support Biofuel and Biomaterial Production

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198672 Year: Pages: 156 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-867-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Biotechnology --- General and Civil Engineering
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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The conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into renewable fuels and other commodities has provided an appealing alternative towards supplanting global dependence on fossil fuels. The suitability of multitudes of plants for deconstruction to useful precursor molecules and products is currently being evaluated. These studies have probed a variety of phenotypic traits, including cellulose, non-cellulosic polysaccharide, lignin, and lignin monomer composition, glucose and xylose production following enzymatic hydrolysis, and an assessment of lignin-carbohydrate and lignin-lignin linkages, to name a few. These quintessential traits can provide an assessment of biomass recalcitrance, enabling researchers to devise appropriate deconstruction strategies. Plants with high polysaccharide and lower lignin contents have been shown to breakdown to monomeric sugars more readily. Not all plants contain ideal proportions of the various cell wall constituents, however. The capabilities of biotechnology can alleviate this conundrum by tailoring the chemical composition of plants to be more favorable for conversion to sugars, fuels, etc. Increases in the total biomass yield, cellulose content, or conversion efficiency through, for example, a reduction in lignin content, are pathways being evaluated to genetically improve plants for use in manufacturing biofuels and bio-based chemicals. Although plants have been previously domesticated for food and fiber production, the collection of phenotypic traits prerequisite for biofuel production may necessitate new genetic breeding schemes. Given the plethora of potential plants available for exploration, rapid analytical methods are needed to more efficiently screen through the bulk of samples to hone in on which feedstocks contain the desired chemistry for subsequent conversion to valuable, renewable commodities. The standard methods for analyzing biomass and related intermediates and finished products are laborious, potentially toxic, and/or destructive. They may also necessitate a complex data analysis, significantly increasing the experimental time and add unwanted delays in process monitoring, where delays can incur in significant costs. Advances in thermochemical and spectroscopic techniques have enabled the screening of thousands of plants for different phenotypes, such as cell-wall cellulose, non-cellulosic polysaccharide, and lignin composition, lignin monomer composition, or monomeric sugar release. Some instrumental methods have been coupled with multivariate analysis, providing elegant chemometric predictive models enabling the accelerated identification of potential feedstocks. In addition to the use of high-throughput analytical methods for the characterization of feedstocks based on phenotypic metrics, rapid instrumental techniques have been developed for the real-time monitoring of diverse processes, such as the efficacy of a specific pretreatment strategy, or the formation of end products, such as biofuels and biomaterials. Real-time process monitoring techniques are needed for all stages of the feedstocks-to-biofuels conversion process in order to maximize efficiency and lower costs by monitoring and optimizing performance. These approaches allow researchers to adjust experimental conditions during, rather than at the conclusion, of a process, thereby decreasing overhead expenses. This Frontiers Research Topic explores options for the modification of biomass composition and the conversion of these feedstocks into to biofuels or biomaterials and the related innovations in methods for the analysis of the composition of plant biomass, and advances in assessing up- and downstream processes in real-time. Finally, a review of the computational models available for techno-economic modeling and lifecycle analysis will be presented.

Advancements in Algal Biofuels Research - Recent Evaluation of Algal Biomass Production and Conversion Methods of into Fuels and High Value Co-products

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889451982 Year: Pages: 81 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-198-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Biotechnology --- General and Civil Engineering
Added to DOAB on : 2017-10-13 14:57:01
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Algae biomass has enormous potential to produce fuels and value-added products. Algae-derived biofuels and bioproducts offer great promise in contributing to U.S. energy security and in mitigating the environmental concerns associated with conventional fuels. Algae’s ability to grow in low quality water/wastewater and to accumulate lipids has encouraged scientists to investigate algae as a medium for wastewater treatment and a potential source of fuel and bioproducts. There are growing demands for biomass-based transportation fuels, including biodiesel, bio-oil, biomethane, biohydrogen, and other high-value products (nutraceuticals, proteins, omega-3 etc.). Algae can help address these needs. The topic of algae energy includes the production and characterization of algae cultures, conversion into fuel feedstocks and high value products, and optimization of product isolation and use. In view of the increasing efforts in algae biomass production and conversion into energy and high-value products, the current research topic covers important aspects of algal strain selection, culture systems, inorganic carbon utilization, lipid metabolism and quality, biomass harvesting, extraction of lipids and proteins, and thermochemical conversion of algal feedstocks into biocrude.

Advances in Microalgae Biology and Sustainable Applications

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889450145 Year: Pages: 152 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-014-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Botany --- General and Civil Engineering --- Biotechnology
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:44
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It has become more evident that many microalgae respond very differently than land plants to diverse stimuli. Therefore, we cannot reduce microalgae biology to what we have learned from land plants biology. However, we are still at the beginning of a comprehensive understanding of microalgae biology. Microalgae have been posited several times as prime candidates for the development of sustainable energy platforms, making thus the in-depth understanding of their biological features an important objective. Thus, the knowledge related to the basics of microalgae biology must be acquired and shared rapidly, fostering the development of potential applications. Microalgae biology has been studied for more than forty years now and more intensely since the 1970’s, when genetics and molecular biology approaches were integrated into the research programs. Recently, studies on the molecular physiology of microalgae have provided evidences on the particularities of these organisms, mainly in model species, such as Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Of note, cellular responses in microalgae produce very interesting phenotypes, such as high lipid content in nitrogen deprived cells, increased protein content in cells under high CO2 concentrations, the modification of flagella structure and motility in basal body mutant strains, the different ancient proteins that microalgae uses to dissipate the harmful excess of light energy, the hydrogen production in cells under sulfur deprivation, to mention just a few. Moreover, several research groups are using high-throughput and data-driven technologies, including “omics” approaches to investigate microalgae cellular responses at a system-wide level, revealing new features of microalgae biology, highlighting differences between microalgae and land plants. It has been amazing to observe the efforts towards the development and optimization of new technologies required for the proper study of microalgae, including methods that opened new paths to the investigation of important processes such as regulatory mechanisms, signaling crosstalk, chemotactic mechanisms, light responses, chloroplast controlled mechanisms, among others. This is an exciting moment in microalgae research when novel data are been produced and applied by research groups from different areas, such as bioprocesses and biotechnology. Moreover, there has been an increased amount of research groups focused in the study of microalgae as a sustainable source for bioremediation, synthesis of bioproducts and development of bioenergy. Innovative strategies are combining the knowledge of basic sciences on microalgae into their applied processes, resulting in the progression of many applications that hopefully, will achieve the necessary degree of optimization for economically feasible large-scale applications. Advances on the areas of basic microalgae biology and novelties on the essential cellular processes were revealed. Progress in the applied science showed the use of the basic science knowledge into fostering translational research, proposing novel strategies for a sustainable world scenario. In this present e-book, articles presented by research groups from different scientific areas showed, successfully, the increased development of the microalgae research. Herewith, you will find articles ranging from bioprospecting regional microalgae species, through advances in microalgae molecular physiology to the development of techniques for characterization of biomass and the use of biomass into agriculture and bioenergy production. This e-book is an excellent source of knowledge for those working with microalgae basic and applied sciences, and a great opportunity for researchers from both areas to have an overview of the amazing possibilities we have for building an environmentally sustainable future once the knowledge is translated into novel applications.

Cyanobacteria: The Green E. coli

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198122 Year: Pages: 114 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-812-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Biotechnology --- General and Civil Engineering
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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As the world struggles to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and curb greenhouse gas emissions, industrial biotechnology is also ‘going green.’ Escherichia coli has long been used as a model Gram-negative bacterium, not only for fundamental research, but also for industrial applications. Recently, however, cyanobacteria have emerged as candidate chassis for the production of commodity fuels and chemicals, utilizing CO2 and sunlight as the main nutrient requirements. In addition to their potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering production costs, cyanobacteria have naturally efficient pathways for the production metabolites such as carotenoids, which are of importance in the nutraceutical industry. The unique metabolic and regulatory pathways present in cyanobacteria present new challenges for metabolic engineers and synthetic biologists. Moreover, their requirement for light and the dynamic regulatory mechanisms of the diurnal cycle further complicate the development and application of cyanobacteria for industrial applications. Consequently, significant advancements in cyanobacterial engineering and strain development are necessary for the development of a ‘green E. coli’. This Research Topic will focus on cyanobacteria as organisms of emerging industrial relevance, including research focused on the development of genetic tools for cyanobacteria, the investigation of new cyanobacterial strains, the construction of novel cyanobacterial strains via genetic engineering, the application of ‘omics’ tools to advance the understanding of engineered cyanobacteria, and the development of computational models for cyanobacterial strain development.

Marine Biomolecules

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196616 Year: Pages: 97 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-661-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Chemistry (General) --- General and Civil Engineering --- Biotechnology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:34:25
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Oceans include the greatest extremes of pressure, temperature and light, and habitats can range from tropical waters to ocean trenches, several kilometers below sea level at high pressure. With its 70% of the surface of our planet marine ecosystem still remains largely unexplored, understudied and underexploited in comparison with terrestrial ecosystems, organisms and bioprocesses. The biological adaptation of marine organisms to a wide range of environmental conditions in the specific environment (temperature, salinity, tides, pressure, radiation, light, etc.) has made them an enormous reservoir of interesting biological material for both basic research and biotechnological improvements. As a consequence marine ecosystem is valued as a source of enzymes and other biomolecules exhibiting new functions and activities to fulfill human needs. Indeed, in recent years it has been recognised as an untapped source of novel enzymes and metabolites even though, with regard to the assignment of precise biological functions to genes, proteins and enzymes, it is still considered as the least developed. Using metagenomics to recover genetic material directly from environmental samples, this biogenetic diversification can be accessed but despite the contributions from metagenomic technologies the new field requires major improvements. A few words on the complexity of marine environments should be added here. This complexity ranges from symbiotic relationships to biology and chemistry of defence mechanisms and from chemoecology of marine invasions up to the strategies found in prokaryotes to adapt to extreme environments. The interdisciplinary study of this complexity will enable researchers to find an arsenal of enzymes and pathways greatly demanded in biotechnological applications. As far as marine enzymes are concerned they may carry novel chemical and stereochemical properties, thus biocatalytically oriented studies (testing of suitable substrates, appropriate checking of reaction conditions, study of stereochemical asset of catalysis) should be performed to appropriately reveal this “chemical biodiversity” which increases interest for these enzymes. Among other biomolecules, polysaccharides are the most abundant renewable biomaterial found on land and in oceans. Their molecular diversity is very interesting; except polysaccharides used traditionally in food and non-food industries, the structure and the functionality of most of them are unknown and unexplored. Brown seaweeds synthesize unique bioactive polysaccharides: laminarans, alginic acids and fucoidans. A wide range of biological activities (anticoagulant, antitumor, antiviral, anti-inflammation, etc.) have been attributed to fucoidans and their role with respect to structure-activity relationship is still under debate. In this Research Topic, we wish to centralize and review contributions, idea and comments related to the issues above. In particular results of enzymatic bioprospecting in gross marine environment will be acknowledged along with research for structural characterization and biological function of biomolecules such as marine polysaccharides and all kind of research related to the complexity of bioprocesses in marine environments. Inter- and multi-disciplinary approach to this field is favoured in this Research Topic and could greatly be facilitated by the web and open access nature as well.

Signaling in the Phytomicrobiome

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889452163 Year: Pages: 104 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-216-3 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Microbiology --- Botany --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-10-13 14:57:01
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A plant growing under field conditions is not a simple individual; it is a community. We now know that there is a community of microbes associated with all parts of the plant, and that the root associated community is particularly large. This microbial community, the phytomicrobiome, is complex, regulated and the result of almost half a billion years of evolution. Circumstances that benefit the plant generally benefit the phytomicrobiome, and vice versa. Members of the holobiont modulate each other's activities, in part, through molecular signals, acting as the hormones of the holobiont. The plant plus the phytomicrobiome constitute the holobiont, the resulting entity that is that community. The phytomicrobiome is complex, well developed and well-orchestrated, and there is considerable potential in managing this system. The use of “biologicals” will develop during the 21st century and play as large a role as agro-chemistry did in the 20th century. Biologicals can be deployed to enhance plant pathogen resistance, improve plant access to nutrients and improve stress tolerance. They can be used to enhance crop productivity, to meet the expanding demands for plant material as food, fibre and fuel. They can assist crop plants in dealing with the more frequent and more extreme episodes of stress that will occur as climate change conditions continue to develop. The path is clear and we have started down it; there is a considerable distance remaining.

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