Next: plant plastic

| Print |  Email
Articles - July/August 2012
Monday, July 09, 2012

 

BY LINDA BAKER

0712 NextMaking biofuels from plants requires breaking down the plant into sugars, which then ferment into ethanol. One of the challenges with that process is what to do with lignin, the tough glue that holds the plant fibers together. Corvallis-based Trillium FiberFuels, in partnership with Oregon State University, addresses that problem by advancing development of a unique enzyme called manganese peroxidase. The enzyme will not only accelerate the breakdown of lignin, but it may also lead to the manufacture of new eco-friendly lignin-based products, such as adhesives and plastics now derived from fossil fuels. Initial work on manganese peroxidase was conducted by OSU professors Christine Kelly and Curtis Lajoie, who developed a highly productive yeast in which the enzyme grows more quickly — and cheaply. (Manganese peroxidase does occur naturally in white-rot fungi, but in extremely small quantities). In some plants, lignin can be as much as 30% of the biomass material, says Trillium president Chris Beatty, who recently received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to commercialize manganese peroxidase. The goal “isn’t just to get lignin out of the way,” Beatty says. “We want to do something useful, by making value-added products that can replace petrochemicals.”

 

More Articles

5 highlights from the Angel Oregon Showcase

The Latest
Thursday, April 23, 2015
IMG 5069BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well at the Oregon Angel showcase, an annual event for angel investors and early stage entrepreneurs.


Read more...

Foundations perspective

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Martha Richards, executive director of the James F. & Marion L. Miller Foundation.


Read more...

Correction: Biker dreams

The Latest
Friday, May 15, 2015
bike at ater wynn-thumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from businesses on a $5.5 million initiative to create a network of biking, transit and pedestrian trails within Portland’s central city.


Read more...

6 highlights from the Craft Brewers Conference

The Latest
Friday, April 17, 2015
thumbcbcPHOTOS BY  JASON E. KAPLAN

The 32nd annual CBC attracted a record number of attendees (11,000)  to the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

Fighting Fire With Fire

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY BEN DEJARNETTE | INVESTIGATEWEST

Timber companies and environmental groups take a stab at collaboration to boost logging and restoration in Oregon fires.


Read more...

Oregon businesses face destruction from future earthquake

The Latest
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
htctthumb1BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An earthquake would completely destroy many Oregon businesses, highlighting the urgent need for the private and public sectors to collaborate on shoring up disaster preparedness, said panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast summit today.


Read more...

5 ways successful people kickstart the day

The Latest
Thursday, April 02, 2015
coffeethumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Are mornings the most productive part of the day?  We ask five successful executives how they get off to a good start.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS