Biofuel Crops

biofuel

A major issue to tackle in agriculture is maximizing mass of crops without increasing agricultural land. A recent genetic discovery, biofuel crops, seems to solve this problem, and this discovery could potentially have higher yields, without increasing the footprint.

There is a gene in a plant that controls the production of lignin within the stems. Lignin is a compound that adds to the strength of the plant cell walls, giving the stems rigidity. By increasing the production of lignin in the stems, the new make-up of the plant looks more filled than before. Usually when crops mature, the stem becomes hollow like a bamboo, but with the increased production of lignin, the hollow shaft is filled at maturity, thus producing more abundant crops. This technology can also serve as a renewable energy source.

Original sources:
http://www.gizmag.com/increasing-lignin-production-in-biomass-crops/17419/
http://www.gizmag.com/increasing-lignin-production-in-biomass-crops/17419/picture/126984/
http://chenected.aiche.org/biological-engineering/advances-
in-biofuels-doe-bioenergy-research-centers-on-location/

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