CEN Webinars: Stronger Bonds

High Throughput Screening of Biomass for Changes
in Recalcitrance to Bioconversion to Fuels and Chemicals


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

USA 11:00 a.m. EST / 10:00 a.m. CST / 8:00 a.m. PST / 15:00 GMT


Who should attend?

• Scientists researching biomass based chemicals and fuels

• Scientists interested in increasing the throughput of biomass screening

• R&D managers that are looking to increase productivity in biomass based chemical and fuel research

• Scientists and managers interested in the latest solid dispensing technologies that can be applied to complex research challenges


Stephen R. Decker, Ph.D
Sr. Scientist V


Linda Wang
Senior Editor


Second generation and advanced biofuels are predicted to displace starch- derived first generation biofuels. These new fuels are geared towards direct gasoline and diesel replacement (i.e. drop in fuels), avoid the food-vs.-fuel issue, and can be produced from a variety of waste and dedicated crop feedstocks, however significant obstacles remain, primarily the inherent recalcitrance of lignocellulose to hydrolysis by chemical or enzymatic means. In an effort to understand the chemical and ultrastructural factors at play in plant cell wall recalcitrance, plant breeders and molecular biologists are generating thousands of plant strain variants through environmental and genetic manipulation. Screening these feedstocks allows for insight into key recalcitrance factors, however the standard screening protocols are labor and time intensive and require relatively large amounts of biomass. We have developed a small-scale high throughput thermochemical and enzymatic hydrolysis method that allows us to screen thousands of samples per week using only a few dozen milligrams of material. This system uses both solid- and liquid-handling robotics to carry out the set up and assays with manual operation of the steam pretreatment and centrifugation steps.

Participants Will Learn:

• The basics of biomass conversion

• How robotics are used to carry out biomass screening

• What the main obstacles to HTP biomass conversion are and how to address them

• How the Bioenergy Science Center is improving biomass conversion

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