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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INDUSTRIALLY ROBUST ENZYMES AND MICROORGANISMS FOR PRODUCTION OF SUGARS AND ETHANOL FROM AGRICULTURAL BIOMASS Project Number: 3620-41000-118-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Aug 09, 2004
End Date: Aug 08, 2009

Objective:
Develop improved processes for converting herbaceous biomass to ethanol by incorporating new enzyme and biocatalyst technologies with modern pretreatment strategies. Evaluate potential for converting biomass derived sugars to hydrogen via fermentation.

Approach:
Herbaceous biomass feedstocks will be converted to fermentable sugar mixtures using low-waste pretreatments and novel enzymatic preparations. The generated sugar mixtures will be fermented using recombinant microorganisms specifically engineered for producing ethanol from biomass sugars. Specific steps in this approach include: (1) working with plant breeders to develop cultivars especially suited for low-chemical usage, mild pretreatments, (2) generating new enzyme mixtures using genes recovered and over-expressed from highly active anaerobic fungi, (3) developing bioabatement methods for removing organic chemical that interfere with fermentation and, thereby, increasing the fermentability of the recovered biomass sugars, (4) engineering gram positive bacteria to selectively produce ethanol; members of this group have a long history of use in industrial fermentations, and (5) screen and evaluate hydrogen producing bacteria for capability to co-produce hydrogen from biomass feedstocks. BSL-1 and Risk Group RG1 recertified April 17, 2008.

Last Modified: 7/31/2014
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