Researchers identify key trigger in creation of a valuable biofuel byproduct

Scientists working with the Center for Bioenergy Innovation are developing a deeper understanding of natural processes that could make biofuel byproducts more useful. Turning biomass into marketable products will make producing cellulosic biofuel more efficient and cost-competitive.

One current biofuel byproduct is lignin, a major component in the structure of plant cells. Catechyl lignin, or C-lignin, is less common because it is synthesized only in the seed coats of some plants. But the properties of C-lignin make it a natural precursor for manufacturing carbon fiber and high-value chemicals and thus a promising choice for reuse from biorefineries.

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