Low Lignin Bioenergy Crops

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In the quest for energy independence, production of biofuels, such as corn ethanol, has exploded. There has been a rapid increase in biorefinery construction, and tax credits encourage further production efforts. The majority of ethanol produced for transportation purposes is currently derived from corn; however, this form of biofuel production is unsustainable. A transition from corn-based to cellulosic ethanol (derived from wood, grasses, or the non-edible parts of plants) is necessary, and substantial tax credits for cellulosic-ethanol producers is evidence for federal support of the transition. Maximization of available biomass is necessary; however, to ensure the long-term success of cellulosic biofuels.

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a transgenic variety of poplar tree for use as feedstock for cellulosic-ethanol production. The transformed plant accumulates biomass faster that its non-transgenic counterpart. The biomass produced is more easily converted as a result of modified lignin, and the plant is sterile. In addition, the plants have multiple stems, allowing for harvest using existing equipment.

Advantages:
-Rapid accumulation of biomass that can be easily harvested using existing equipment
-Biomass is easily degradable
-Sterility confines the altered genome and further increases biomass production

Potential Applications:
-Green Technology
-Agriculture
Aug 10, 2012
Utility Patent
United States
9,334,505
May 10, 2016

Aug 12, 2011
Provisional-Patent
United States
(None)
(None)
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
1801 Newman Road
West Lafayette, IN 47906

Phone: (765) 588-3475
Fax: (765) 463-3486
Email: otcip@prf.org