(98b) Insights into Biomass Recalcitrance

Ragauskas, A. J., University of Tennessee
The utilization of biomass for biofuels and bio-derived chemicals and materials based on the biological platform is contingent on efficient separation, deconstruction and conversion. Today’s cellulosic ethanol plants, especially those based on the cellulase deconstruction, have demonstrated that the conversion of plant polysaccharides to ethanol can be accomplished on an industrial scale but current process challenges are hindering wide-spread adaption. One of the key issues is the recalcitrance of biomass and the need to utilize aggressive pretreatment technologies. Recent advances in our understanding of the plant cell wall structure and our ability to reduce biomass recalcitrance by altering these constituents by controlling genetic features of the plant and innovations in pretreatment chemistries provides innovative pathways to facilitate the biorefining of plant polysaccharides to biofuels and yield a lignin rich process stream that can be valorized to chemicals and/or materials. This seminar review our contributions in this field and highlight future opportunities.