Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Can Biofuel be made from a Mutated Plant?

Seth DeBolt, a professor of horticulture from the university of Kentucky, has been studying different mutations of cellulose in plants. Plants have cell walls made up of cellulose and in most plants the cellulose is made of thick crystallized sugars forming strong plant cell walls. Plants with weak cell walls are vulnerable to enzymatic breakdown, forming sugars that can be fermented and used as biofuel.
DeBolt has been trying to different methods to reduce the cellulose in plants so he can create a source of biofuel that is not harmful to the environment. DeBolt and his team were successful in decreasing cellulose content in these mutant cell walls. By discovering a new method of obtaining biofuel energy sources such as ethanol and diesel, the world can run these new efficient energy sources instead of burning through fossil fuels.

Posted by Khoa Chu (4)


  1. It would be fantastic if scientists could find a way to make biofuel more affordable to produce. Methods like this one are helping the movement for sure, but it is still costly both expense wise and energy wise to produce environmentally fuel. Sugars in plants like this one are a great source from which to derive ethanol. Especially crops like corn can be used to produce clean fuel and would increase numerous markets like the farming industry.

    - Jeff Keating (2)

  2. Gasoline is becoming more scarce every year. Soon it will be all gone. Making bio fuel from corn hasn't become efficient yet as it takes more then a gallon of oil to make a gallon of bio fuel. Maybe these mutated plants could provide a more efficient bio fuel. Who knows, but in the future we defiantly need to begin investing in a field like this.

    posted by Dorian Pillari(c)

  3. Cool post. I don't understand why things like this aren't in the headlines of every major new network. It seems that progress toward a better energy source is being made all of the time but there is no effort being taken to implement these new fuels.

    Posted by Michael Thomas

  4. I agree with the above post. Time and time again I hear stories about people fueling made at home cars with corn oil, and other various breakthroughs with alternatives other than gas. My question is, why does it seem as if the ideas are not being pursued? Gas prices seem to be continuously rising, and our sources our only depleting.

    Taylor Pirog

    1. I understand where your coming from, why aren't these ideas being pursued? I really think that the cost of producing all this genetically mutated biofuel can be very expensive. The labor of sustaining these crops alone would be a very tough feat on its own, but one day I hope the consequences will outweigh the costs.

      Posted by Khoa Chu

  5. Corn was such a huge farce sponsored by the American farmers, I hope this new biofuel isn't fueled by money in congress and is fueled by actual scientific innovation. The sooner we can come up with an alternative to gas the better off the world is.
    by Mike Selden (C)

  6. A new source of energy will be more than welcome by the average joe. Fossil fuels are rapidly depleting, it can't sustain the amount of fuels we need daily. Eventually fossil fuels will either be completely used up, or we find another more practical energy source. Biofuel seems like a possibly good replacement, as we can constantly grow new plants. But I think the amount of energy we put into growing plants will outweigh the energy we get out of biofuel, but one day hopefully this won't be the case.

    Posted By Andy Zou