11 Jul '11, 12am

Everyone's talking about how termites can nibble through lignin, but why let termites eat away the valuable eco chemical?

Few people have a good word to say about termites, but according to new research the wood-munching pests could break down the barriers that prevent large scale production of fuel derived from woody biomass. Scientists at Purdue University , Indiana, say that enzymes in termite guts used to break down the wood they eat, could be harnessed to tackle lignin, a rigid compound that makes up plant cell walls. FURTHER READING Seaweed offers kelping hand for biofuels Beetle and fries, sir? Lignin is one of the most significant barriers that blocks access to the sugars contained in biomass, which have to be fermented to make biofuels such as ethanol. The study, published in the online version of the journal PLoS One earlier this month, argues that if the termite enzyme can be harnessed to ensure a greater amount of sugar is released from woody biomass, larger quantities of biofuel ...

Full article: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2092610/termites-nib...

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