Grass is Greener for the Future of Biofuels - Scientists in the U.S. claim they have developed a simple, one-step process that turns plant tissue into biofuel. A genetically-engineered bacterium can convert switchgrass into ethanol directly, without any expensive pre-treatment with enzymes to break down the cellulose fibers into something suitable for fermentation.
Michael Blazier is familiar with growing trees. As an LSU AgCenter forestry researcher, he has been involved in many timber-related projects that have helped determine the most efficient methods for producing quality lumber. Now, he is working on growing switchgrass, a fast-growing native plant that shows promise as a biofuel feedstock.
" While I was conducting experiments to make 'spine-less' cactus, I often talked to the plants to create a vibration of love. 'You have nothing to fear,' I would tell them. 'You don't need your defensive thorns.I will protect you.' Gradually the useful plant of the desert emerged in a thorn less variety." -Luther Burbank quote
The Noble Foundation uses both traditional and modern plant breeding methods to move laboratory discoveries into agriculturally beneficial crops.
Noble Foundation researchers have been studying condensed tannins as a bloat remedy. This naturally-occurring class of chemical compounds possesses the ability to reduce bloat in livestock.
"A lot of people think this is a new thing, and it's not," Jackson said. "I would be willing to bet that most people drive by a switchgrass plant on their way to work every day." A Farmer in Tennessee being interviewed.
Biomass Energy: Switchgrass crops can be harvested to make biofuels.