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Analytical Methods in Plant Biomass Characterization and Valorization


Our Guest Editors for Biotechnology for Biofuels: Drs. Breeanna Urbanowicz, Maria Peña, and William Barnes New Content Itemof the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center at the University of Georgia present a series on the topic of “Analytical Methods in Plant Biomass Characterization and Valorization.”

The importance of plant biomass in the emerging bioeconomy cannot be understated, as it is a highly-abundant renewable resource that is the foundation for the production of second-generation biofuels, chemicals, and novel materials. Plant cell walls play an economically-relevant and ubiquitous role in almost every aspect of life, but we still lack a comprehensive understanding of cell wall structure and organization. Furthermore, understanding how plants synthesize, modify, and degrade their cell walls throughout development is crucial for genetic engineering and targeted genomics efforts focused on designing high-yielding, stress-tolerant crops. In order to advance our society beyond the limitations imposed by fossil-derived feedstocks, we must exploit the valorization potential of renewable plant feedstocks, including lignins, oils, and other carbon-rich compounds. To achieve these goals, there is an increasing need to understand biomass structure and properties.

In this special series of Biotechnology for Biofuels, we aim to explore methods for the characterization and utilization of these energy-rich and renewable resources to inform future efforts toward increasing plant productivity and biomass valorization.

This collection is now closed to new submissions.

  1. In plants, a large diversity of polysaccharides comprise the cell wall. Each major type of plant cell wall polysaccharide, including cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin, has distinct structures and functions ...

    Authors: William J. Barnes, Sabina Koj, Ian M. Black, Stephanie A. Archer-Hartmann, Parastoo Azadi, Breeanna R. Urbanowicz, Maria J. Peña and Malcolm A. O’Neill
    Citation: Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:142
  2. Sugarcane is one of the most crucial energy crops that produces high yields of sugar and lignocellulose. The cellulose crystallinity index (CrI) and lignin are the two kinds of key cell wall features that acco...

    Authors: Xinru Li, Fumin Ma, Chengping Liang, Maoyao Wang, Yan Zhang, Yufei Shen, Muhammad Adnan, Pan Lu, Muhammad Tahir Khan, Jiangfeng Huang and Muqing Zhang
    Citation: Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:123
  3. During the biomass-to-bio-oil conversion process, many studies focus on studying the association between biomass and bio-products using near-infrared spectra (NIR) and chemical analysis methods. However, the c...

    Authors: Chao Yin, Xiaohua Deng, Zhiqiang Yu, Zechun Liu, Hongxiang Zhong, Ruting Chen, Guohua Cai, Quanxing Zheng, Xiucai Liu, Jiawei Zhong, Pengfei Ma, Wei He, Kai Lin, Qiaoling Li and Anan Wu
    Citation: Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:106
  4. Burning fast-growing trees for energy production can be an effective alternative to coal combustion. Thus, lignocellulosic material, which can be used to obtain chemicals with a high added value, is highly abu...

    Authors: Alberto Palma, Javier Mauricio Loaiza, Manuel J. Díaz, Juan Carlos García, Inmaculada Giráldez and Francisco López
    Citation: Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:89
  5. Wheat straw, one of the most abundant agricultural residues worldwide, can be used to produce biogas, which is considered one of the most efficiently produced renewable energies. Wheat grown with the dual-purp...

    Authors: Nadia Gabbanelli, Elisa Erbetta, Maria Eugenia Sanz Smachetti, Máximo Lorenzo, Paola Mónica Talia, Ignacio Ramírez, Magdalena Vera, Ignacio Durruty, Ana Clara Pontaroli and Maria Mercedes Echarte
    Citation: Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:85
  6. Plant cell wall-derived biomass serves as a renewable source of energy and materials with increasing importance. The cell walls are biomacromolecular assemblies defined by a fine arrangement of different class...

    Authors: Brian T DeVree, Lisa M Steiner, Sylwia Głazowska, Felix Ruhnow, Klaus Herburger, Staffan Persson and Jozef Mravec
    Citation: Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:78
  7. Suberin is a hydrophobic biopolymer of significance in the production of biomass-derived materials and in biogeochemical cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Here, we describe suberin structure and biosynthesis,...

    Authors: Anne E. Harman-Ware, Samuel Sparks, Bennett Addison and Udaya C. Kalluri
    Citation: Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:75
  8. Epidermal cell walls have special structural and biological roles in the life of the plant. Typically they are multi-ply structures encrusted with waxes and cutin which protect the plant from dehydration and p...

    Authors: Liza A. Wilson, Fabien Deligey, Tuo Wang and Daniel J. Cosgrove
    Citation: Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:66
  9. Multiple analytical methods have been developed to determine the ratios of aromatic lignin units, particularly the syringyl/guaiacyl (S/G) ratio, of lignin biopolymers in plant cell walls. Chemical degradation...

    Authors: Renee M. Happs, Bennett Addison, Crissa Doeppke, Bryon S. Donohoe, Mark F. Davis and Anne E. Harman-Ware
    Citation: Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:58
  10. Lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) are important industrial enzymes known for their catalytic degradation of recalcitrant polymers such as cellulose or chitin. Their activity can be measured by length...

    Authors: Søren Brander, Stine Lausten, Johan Ø. Ipsen, Kristoffer B. Falkenberg, Andreas B. Bertelsen, Morten H. H. Nørholm, Lars H. Østergaard and Katja S. Johansen
    Citation: Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:51
  11. Humic acids (HA) have been used in biorefinery process due to its surfactant properties as an aid to the pretreatment of lignocellulose, with results indicating a positive effect on delignification. However, t...

    Authors: Wei Tang, Xinxing Wu, Caoxing Huang, Zhe Ling, Chenhuan Lai and Qiang Yong
    Citation: Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:25
  12. Biomass composition varies from plant to plant and greatly affects biomass utilization. Lignin is a heterogeneous phenolic polymer derived mainly from p-coumaryl, coniferyl, and sinapyl alcohols and makes up to 1...

    Authors: Fang Chen, Chunliu Zhuo, Xirong Xiao, Thomas H. Pendergast and Katrien M. Devos
    Citation: Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:18
  13. The production of biofuels as an efficient source of renewable energy has received considerable attention due to increasing energy demands and regulatory incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Second-g...

    Authors: Jeffrey P. Tingley, Kristin E. Low, Xiaohui Xing and D. Wade Abbott
    Citation: Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:16

    The Correction to this article has been published in Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:40

  14. Multidimensional solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (ssNMR) spectroscopy has emerged as an indispensable technique for resolving polymer structure and intermolecular packing in primary and secondary plant ...

    Authors: Wancheng Zhao, Alex Kirui, Fabien Deligey, Frederic Mentink-Vigier, Yihua Zhou, Baocai Zhang and Tuo Wang
    Citation: Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:14
  15. The recalcitrance of lignocellulosics to enzymatic saccharification has been related to many factors, including the tissue and molecular heterogeneity of the plant particles. The role of tissue heterogeneity g...

    Authors: Cécile Barron, Marie-Françoise Devaux, Loïc Foucat, Xavier Falourd, Rachelle Looten, Maud Joseph-Aime, Sylvie Durand, Estelle Bonnin, Catherine Lapierre, Luc Saulnier, Xavier Rouau and Fabienne Guillon
    Citation: Biotechnology for Biofuels 2021 14:1