DOE finds gene for xylan extraction
Researchers with the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have identified a gene in rice plants whose suppression can improve extraction of xylan from plant cell walls. Xylan is reportedly the most abundant biomass material on Earth and represents an enormous potential source of stored solar energy for the production of advanced biofuels.
Ceres, Syngenta in sweet sorghum
Energy crop company Ceres announced that its Brazilian subsidiary Ceres Sementes do Brasil Ltda has signed a sweet sorghum market development agreement with Syngenta. The companies will work together to support the introduction of sweet sorghum as a source of fermentable sugars at Brazil's 400 or more ethanol mills. Sweet sorghum is said to be a hardy crop that can extend the ethanol production season by up to 60 days in Brazil. Brazil's government recently announced in its agricultural plan for 2012-2013 that sweet sorghum would be considered a strategic crop due in part to increased demand for ethanol and sugarcane shortages.