1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this Annex is to establish the Joint US-Sino Center for Biofuel Research under the leadership of the USDA/ARS’ National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in conjunction with the Institute of New Energy Technology, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. Other Academic partners may be invited by the principles and should be approved by both institutions that fit the mission related effort. . This Annex is subject to the terms and conditions of the S & T Agreement and the Protocol. In the event of any conflict between the terms and conditions of the S & T Agreement or the Protocol and this Annex, the S & T Agreement and the Protocol shall govern.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Cooperation under this Annex may include, but is not limited to, the following topic areas: • To characterize detoxification dynamics, metabolic profiles, and ethanol production potential of tolerant ethanologenic yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae NRRL Y-50049 and other genetically engineered tolerant yeast strains during ethanol conversion using industrial processing by-products corncobs. • To develop improved fermentation process and conditions for optimized performance of selected tolerant yeast for cost-efficient ethanol production using low cost biomass feedstocks including but not limited to sweet sorghum feedstocks. • To develop enzymatic and microbiological biocatalytists for degradation of biomass and enhanced performance for a low cost biomass-to-ethanol conversion. • To develop high-yield tolerant fermentative strains efficiently utilizing multiple sugars derived from divergent lignocellulosic biomass resources. • To address existing and emerging challenging issues from genomics and genetic engineering to fermentation design, optimization, and pipeline process engineering contributing to a sustainable and cost-competitive biofuels production. • To develop bioenergy crops, including improved germplasm and crop management technologies such as for pest control. To generate broad interest and increased activities, the Parties will, upon mutual consent, involve other interested government agencies and the scientific and business communities of both countries in cooperative programs, trade capacity-building activities, and scientific cooperation and exchanges in implementation of this Annex.
3. Progress Report
This report documents research conducted under an MOU with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology on cooperation on biofuels and bioenergy. The annual Joint Working Group that was scheduled for September 14, 2010 in Yangling China to review progress has been postponed pending confirmation of a new REE Under Secretary. This activity represents the newest thematic area of the USDA Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) Protocol, added in 2007. Dr. Z. Lewis Liu, ARS-NCAUR, Peoria, IL (3620-41000-123) coordinates ARS cooperative research conducted under this annex. ARS hosted Dr. Yingjin Yuan, Tianjin University, China at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in December 2009. In May 2010, Dr. Liu organized a workshop and delivered a seminar on “Unification of gene expression data for gene regulatory network analysis” for the American Society for Microbiology meeting in San Diego, CA. Liu and Shizhong have been working on solid state fermentation of sweet sorghum and barley through their MOST sponsored collaboration. In May he presented research accomplishments that derived from this cooperation at NCAUR entitled “Molecular mechanisms of ethanol tolerance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae” and “Cellulosic ethanol production from xylose-extracted corncob residue by simultaneous saccharification and fermentation using a novel yeast strain” during annual meeting of American Society for Microbiology, San Diego, CA. In June, Dr. Jian Xu, collaborator from Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology, Qingdao, China, submitted to ARS a progress report on ARS Agreement # 58-3620-9-092FN established in 2009. Dr. Xu reported QIBEBT sequencing progress for ARS tolerant yeast strain NRRL Y-50049 and parental strain NRRL Y-12632. Since 2008, Dr. Liu has been working closely with Dr. Li Shizhong and postdoc research associate Dr. Zhang Lei from Tsinghua University, China on a joint research on cellulose ethanol production from industrial processed corncob residue. In August this year, they completed a manuscript of this original research and submitted a peer-reviewed journal article for publication.