Genomics of cellulosic biofuels

Abstract

The development of alternatives to fossil fuels as an energy source is an urgent global priority. Cellulosic biomass has the potential to contribute to meeting the demand for liquid fuel, but land-use requirements and process inefficiencies represent hurdles for large-scale deployment of biomass-to-biofuel technologies. Genomic information gathered from across the biosphere, including potential energy crops and microorganisms able to break down biomass, will be vital for improving the prospects of significant cellulosic biofuel production.

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Figure 1: Biology of bioconversion of solar energy into biofuels.
Figure 2: Structure of lignocellulose.

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Acknowledgements

I would like to thank S. Tringe, M. Hess, J. Tuskan, P. Hugenholtz, J. Bristow, B. Simmons, S. Long, J. Fruchart-Najib and H. Blanch for their input to the manuscript. This work was performed under the auspices of the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research Program, and by the University of California, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under contract number DE-AC02-05CH11231, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under contract number DE-AC52-07NA27344, and Los Alamos National Laboratory under contract number DE-AC02-06NA25396.

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Correspondence to Edward M. Rubin.

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Rubin, E. Genomics of cellulosic biofuels. Nature 454, 841–845 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature07190

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