Canadian Biomass Magazine

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Engineered softwood could transform biofuel industry

April 22, 2015 – A U.S.-led research team has discovered that a process that would engineer softwoods to contain lignin found in hardwoods could transform the pulp and paper and biofuel industries.


April 22, 2015
By Andrew Macklin


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The research, led by John Ralph of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Center (GLBRC), used a model called the tracheary element (TE) system to determine that it is possible to engineer softwood with the monomers contained in hardwood.

The S-monomers found in hardwoods, such as birch and poplar, make an easier-to-breakdown form of lignin. Meanwhile, the G-monomers found in softwoods, such as pine and spruce, form a lignin that is more difficult to degrade.

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