Third year student in Department of Biochemistry
Sustainable provision of food and energy to the growing population is one of the greatest challenges of this century. Plant biomass, a renewable resource providing nutrition and bioenergy, is recalcitrant to degradation, posing challenges for biofuel applications. I have discovered that a single modification of a cell wall polysaccharide xylan triples the efficiency of biomass processing and doubles the biofuel yield obtained from it. My work is first to report such advances in improving the biomass without reducing plant growth. I have also characterised a softwood enzyme generating these recalcitrance-determining structures, hence providing a target for genetically improved forestry crops.