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Method to Increase Calorific Content and Enhanced Nutritional Valye of Plant Biomass for the Production of Fuel and Feed

Description:

Production of alternative fuels such as biodiesel is on the rise around the world and in the U.S. due to a strong and growing desire to reduce dependency on petroleum-derived diesel fuel. The acceptance of biodiesel has been slowed due to its higher cost relative to petroleum-derived diesel. The higher cost of biodiesel is directly related to the cost of feedstock used for biodiesel production, which is often derived from crops also used for food. The displacement of food crops by energy crops causes higher food prices and is fueling a rapidly growing social, environmental, economic, and political push to move away from food crops for alternative fuel production. This GLBRC technology is plants modified to divert metabolic activity from carbohydrate storage to oil storage in vegetative tissues. Enhancement of TAG synthesis in Arabidopsis is achieved via up-regulation of the TAG biosynthesis pathway and acyltransferase over-expression. This results in enhanced energy content of plant biomass by up to 6% without any detrimental effects in Arabidopsis. Model experiments indicate that the plant material is excellent forage, with animals fed the high-TAG material showing increased weight gain. The increased energy density makes the biomass particularly suited for pyrolysis.
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