The End Of Fossil Fuels - Our Green Energy

Free Power Secrets

This is a step by step guide, created by Reggie Hamel, shows you everything that you need to know to run your car, truck, tractor or any other motor on homemade alcohol in less than a weeks time. You'll get video and PDF guides that will teach you step-by-step how to setup your own consistent gas source in the comfort of your home. It doesn't matter if you've never tried DIY projects before. Everything you need to learn can be find in this guide. You get access to a step by step free power secrets guide and video tutorials that allow you to make your own fuel for less than 70 cents a gallon. Although the system is simple and easy to implement, it may not be easy for everyone to do this, especially if you don't get the raw materials for alcohol production regularly. Therefore results may vary from case to case. More here...

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Metabolic Engineering of Cyanobacteria for Direct Conversion of CO2 to Hydrocarbon Biofuels

Cyanobacteria Fig

Abstract Cyanobacteria are oxygenic photosynthesizers like plant and algae and hence can capture CO2 via the Calvin cycle and convert it to a suite of organic compounds. They are Gram-negative bacteria and are well suited for synthetic biology and metabolic engineering approaches for the phototrophic production of various desirable biomolecules, including ethanol, butanol, biodiesel, and hydrocarbon biofuels. Phototrophic biosynthesis of high-density liquid biofuels in cyanobacteria would serve as a good complement to the microbial production of biodiesel and hydrocarbons in heterotrophic bacteria such as Escherichia coli. Two groups of hydrocarbon biofuels that are being considered in microbial production systems are alkanes and isoprenoids. Alkanes of defined chain lengths can be used as drop-in fuel similar to gasoline and jet fuel. Many cyanobacteria synthesize alkanes, albeit in minute quantities. Optimizing the expression of the alkane biosynthesis genes and enhancing the carbon...

Topinambur Bioethanol

Bailey, B.K., Performance of ethanol as a transportation fuel, in Handbook on Bioethanol Production and Utilization, Wyman, C.E., Ed., Taylor & Francis, Washington, DC, 1996, pp. 37-60. Bajpai, P.K. and Bajpai, P., Utilization of Jerusalem artichoke for fuel ethanol production using free and immobilized cells, Biotechnol. Appl. Biochem., 11, 155-168, 1989. Bajpai, P. and Margaritis, A., Continuous ethanol production for Jerusalem artichoke stalks using immobilized cells of Kluyveromyces marxianus, Process Biochem., 21, 86-89, 1986. Bajpai, P. and Margaritis, A., The effect of temperature and pH on ethanol production by free and immobilized cells of Kluyveromyces marxianus grown on Jerusalem artichoke extract, Biotechnol. Bioeng., 30, 306-312, 1987. Baker, L., Thomassin, P.J., and Henning, J.C., The economic competitiveness of Jerusalem artichoke (Helian-thus tuberosus) as an agricultural feedstock for ethanol production for transportation fuels, Can. J. Agric. Econ., 38, 981-990,...

Biomass and Biofuel

Industrial societies have come to rely on fossil fuels for their energy needs. However, fossil fuels (i.e., oil, coal, and natural gas) are nonrenewable resources extracted from rapidly depleting reserves, the major factor contributing to the rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide responsible for global climate change, and increasingly a source of international conflict (e.g., Deffeyes, 2001 Heinberg, 2005 IPCC, 2007 Klare, 2004 Leggett, 2006 Roberts, 2005). A global shift in perspective is therefore occurring, toward a transition energy economy, with renewable and carbonneutral sources of local energy being developed to supplement or replace imported fossil fuels. Plants have been used since prehistoric times for energy, and firewood is still a major source of heat energy today. Now, with major changes in the energy economy looming, plant biomass is increasingly used to produce transportable fuels. For example, plant-derived alcohol is used to fuel automobiles in Brazil and...


Soybean is one of the major booming oil crops in the world and is one of the products presently being used as biodiesel, with an increasing trend in response to the growing demand for biofuels, especially in the USA (Smaling et al., 2008). This is being driven by high and unstable fossil-fuel-derived energy prices. Several countries (e.g. Brazil and the USA) have created programmes for biodiesel development. As a result, a new market opened for soybean oil in Brazil in 2006 2007. In Brazil, the biodiesel programme has allowed the inclusion of 2 of biodiesel in diesel from petroleum since 2006. This proportion will become compulsory in 2008 and increase to 5 by 2013 (Smaling et al., 2008). In 2008, demand for vegetable oil for biodiesel was estimated at about 500,000 t (Smaling et al., 2008). It has also been estimated that the energy sector will absorb about 1.5-3.0 million t of vegetable oil by 2013 (Smaling et al, 2008).

Underutilized Resource

The Jerusalem artichoke or topinambour (Helianthus tuberosus L.) is not only a fascinating species, but also one with an exceptionally colorful history. Over the past 300 years, interest in the crop has vacillated widely. During times of crop failure and food shortage (e.g., potato famine, during and after World War II) or high petroleum prices, a new round of interest in the crop's potential often occurs, all too frequently with only a limited understanding of the extensive body of literature already available. More recently, renewed interest has been spurred by its potential as a feedstock for the synthesis of a diverse cross section of new products, an awareness of its significant health benefits when included in human and animal diets, and the possibility of utilizing it for the production of biofuels.

The use of energy from sunlight by photosynthesis is the basis of life on earth

Plants and cyanobacteria capture the light of the sun and utilize its energy to synthesize organic compounds from inorganic substances such as CO2, nitrate, and sulfate to synthesize their cellular material they are photoau-totrophic. In photosynthesis photon energy splits water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter bound as NADPH. This process, termed the light reaction, takes place in the photosynthetic reaction centers embedded in membranes. It involves the transport of electrons, which is coupled to the synthesis of ATP. NADPH and ATP are consumed in a so-called dark reaction to synthesize carbohydrates from CO2 (Fig. 2.1). The photosynthesis of plants and cyanobacteria created the biomass on earth, including the deposits of fossil fuels and atmospheric oxygen. Animals are dependent on the supply of carbohydrates and other organic compounds as food they are heterotrophic. They generate the energy required for their life processes by oxidizing the biomass, which has first been...

Processing and utilization

It is mainly pressed to extract soybean oil, after which a soybean meal remains, which is a rich source of protein. Soybean oil can be used for the production of edible oils such as kitchen oil, salad oil and others through refining and deep processing. Soybean oil is also used for the production of printing ink and biodiesel. Soybean meal is mainly used for the production of compound feed. It is the main protein source in feed for livestock farming. The native soybean meal produced under low-temperature conditions is mainly used for the production of isolated soy protein, concentrated protein and structural protein. These proteins are added to various foods in the food-processing industry for the production of soybean protein-rich foods. For instance, wheat flour is supplemented with a certain amount of soybean protein for the production of bread and cake. Soybean protein supplementation improves the water absorption of meat and the palatability of sausages....

The Industrial Revolution

The effects on the biosphere have been pervasive. Fuel-powered machines have allowed humans to cultivate more land, consume more resources, and sustain larger populations than was conceivable before the beginnings of this most important revolution. In addition to these effects, the use of fuel has had far-reaching consequences by itself. Wood-fired boilers soon gave way to coal, but not before deforestation of thousands of acres of virgin forests in the rapidly industrializing regions of Europe. Coal mining is a dirty business, and leaves in its wake scars on the landscape that can take generations to heal. More significantly, coal and its replacement, oil, are fossil fuels, the geologic remains of ancient plants that contain carbon removed from the carbon cycle millions of years ago. Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and records show the atmospheric level of CO2 has risen steadily since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Carbon dioxide is a...

Energy Demand and Carbon Sequestration

Moreover, the use of wood as a biofuel could substitute for fossil fuels. Modern biofuel and power plants would allow for a wider use of wood without unacceptable impacts on air quality. This could be an interesting alternative in particular for smaller settlements where sufficient land is available for growing energy crops such as poplar plantations or coppice woods.

In Soil Aggregation And Plant Growth

Formation of the highly stable glomalin molecule, but organic matter occluded within aggregates appears to have a turnover time double that of free organic matter (Six et al., 2001 Nichols and Wright, 2004 Preger et al., 2007 Roldan et al., 2007 Rillig, 2004 Rillig, et al., 2007). Therefore, effective management of soil organisms and, as a consequence, agricultural systems, will maintain a consistent supply of plant-available nutrients to meet the demands of food, feed, fiber and biofuels production for a growing world population while maintaining optimal ecosystem function.

Nitrogen Deposition Sources of N pollution

Most oxidised N is generated through fossil fuel combustion (Dignon and Hameed 1989). The main sources of oxidised N are linked to human transportation. The majority of NO is formed by the combination of N and O from the air within the flames (Palmer and Seery 1973). Oxidised N emissions are dominated by NO and NO2, highly reactive gases that are subject to transformation to nitric and or nitrous acid respectively (Levine et al. 1991). NO2 produced in the urban environment also contributes to the N load of rural systems and may be deposited wet or dry. Annual average concentrations of NO2 in Europe range from less than 0.5 to 2 .g m-3 and for NO are below 0.2 .g m-3.

Treatment of harvest residues

Besides rotation length and amount of biomass harvested, the treatment of detritus or harvest residues impacts on forest carbon stocks in managed forests (Harmon and Marks, 2002 Laiho et al, 2003 Eriksson et al, 2007). The treatment may comprise various alternatives such as slash-burning, removal for bioenergy use or decomposition on site. Decomposition leads to a gradual carbon loss from the ecosystem, sometimes even offsetting the biomass carbon accumulation rate leading to a negative net balance. This is especially true if the material inhibits tree regeneration. Alternative treatments like slash-burning lead to a much faster loss that is probably similar in magnitude over time. Biomass removal for use as fuelwood or bioenergy causes rapid losses to the ecosystem but affords opportunities for fossil fuel substitution outside the forest (Palosuo et al, 2008).

Conclusions and Perspectives

The employment of cyanobacteria for biofuel production is in its infancy. Most of the attention in the algal biofuel space is devoted to eukaryotic microalgae, mainly because of their capacity to store large amounts of TAGs. However, the successful biosynthesis of FA ethylesters (FAEE a biodiesel) and hydrocarbon fuels in E. coli (Kalscheuer et al. 2006 Beller et al. 2010 Schirmer et al. 2010 Steen et al. 2010) suggests that similar strategies in pathway engineering should prove achievable also in cyanobacteria, where sunshine and CO2, rather than organic feedstocks, will serve as energy and carbon source, respectively. Furthermore, cyanobacteria have previously been engineered to produce alcohol-based fuels such as ethanol and isobutanol (Deng and Coleman 1999 Atsumi et al. 2009). The capacity of cyanobacteria to thrive in high CO2 concentrations makes them an attractive system for beneficial recycling of CO2 from point sources such as coal-fired power plants via biofuel synthesis....

Temporal Trends Of Inorganic Elements

The trends revealed relatively increased input of these chemicals from the early 1900s to 2000. However, Pb showed a gradual declining trend from the early 1970s to 2000 (Figure 9.2). Pb and Zn have been used by humans for a variety of purposes throughout the 19th and 20th centuries 20 . Point source inputs pf Pb and Zn to aquatic systems (streams, lakes, and reservoirs) include industrial effluents, municipal wastewater effluents, and fossil fuel combustion 21 . In addition, Zn is a common contaminant in agricultural and food wastes. Fossil fuel combustion is the main contributor to worldwide anthropogenic emissions of Zn 25 . Furthermore, atmospheric deposition of Pb, Zn, and other elements cannot be ruled out. Baker et al. 26 reported a number

Applications in Biotechnology

Understanding the control of assimilate partitioning and how to manipulate it underpins many targets for plant biotechnologists (Fig. 4.5). An important target with broad applications is the manipulation of the carbon nitrogen balance. In potato tubers and most cereal seeds, this is effectively the ratio of starch to protein, although all cereal seeds also contain some oil. Farmers producing barley for malting, for example, grow varieties that favour the accumulation of starch over protein in the seed and cultivate the crop under low nitrogen conditions to keep seed protein levels low. Similarly, high-starch and low-protein varieties are grown to produce the 6.1 million tonnes of starch from wheat, maize and potato that is used by food and non-food industries each year in Europe. In contrast, farmers producing barley, wheat and maize for animal feed need varieties that favour protein production. The ability to manipulate the C N balance to suit a particular end-user requirement has...

Importance of Soil pH

Soil pH is an important property that influences many chemical and biological processes occurring in soils. Acidification of soils is a natural geologic process. Rainwater contains carbonic acid produced when atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves in the rain. In addition, plants may acidify the soil around their roots by releasing hydrogen ions. Human processes, such as combustion of fossil fuels, may add acidity to the atmosphere this acidity eventually reaches soils via precipitation (acid rain) and deposition of dry particles. Although many soils have a large capacity to neutralize incoming acidity without changes in their pH values, over geologic time soil pH values decrease.

Effects of Deforestation

Globally the effects of deforestation are more difficult to see. Forests play an important part in the greater natural cycles that make and affect the weather and that clean the air in our atmosphere. They keep the hydro-logical cycle healthy by putting water back into the atmosphere through transpiration, making clouds and rain. They also capture carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossil fuels from the atmosphere, replacing it with oxygen and thus reducing the risk of global warming. If too many forests are cut these important functions cannot be carried out. The result could be less rain, higher temperatures, and more severe weather patterns in many regions of the world.

Significance of Cellwall Texture for Wood Quality

Wood has been used for thousands of years as a raw material for timber, furniture, pulp and paper, chemicals, and fuels. In addition, since wood is a major carbon sink, it is expected to play an important role in removing the excess of atmospheric CO2 that is generated by the burning of fossil fuels (IPCC 2007). Therefore, there is still great demand for wood as a renewable bio-material and source of bio-energy.

Overexpression Of Mts As A Means To Increase Cadmium Tolerance

Heavy metal pollution of soils and waters, mainly caused by mining and the burning of fossil fuels, is a major environmental problem. Heavy metals, unlike organic pollutants, cannot be chemically degraded or biodegraded by microorganisms. An alternative biological approach used to deal with this problem is phytoremediation i.e., the use of plants to clean up polluted waters and soils 78,80 . Heavy metals or metalloids can be removed from polluted sites by phytoex-traction, which is the accumulation of the pollutants in the plant biomass 81 . Compared with other remediation technologies, phytoremediation is less expensive (1000-fold less expensive than excavation and reburial of soil 82 ) and is particularly suitable for treatment of large volumes of substrate with low concentrations of heavy metals. However, the presence of heavy metals inhibits plant growth, limiting the application of phytoremediation. Therefore, one trait of great significance to phytoremediation is the ability of...

Biotechnological Perspectives

To improve crop productivity, it is necessary to understand the mechanisms of plant responses to environmental changes with the ultimate goal being the increase of food availability. There are concerns about our ability to increase, or even maintain, crop yield and production in the context of global environmental change and its associated abiotic stresses (Tester and Langridge 2010). Furthermore, the current increment in biofuels production adds more doubts about our capacity to produce enough food.

Heavy Metal Contamination Of Soil And Associated Agricultural And Environmental Problems

Processing of the ores for the extraction of metals is the second major step during which metals find their way into land mass the metals escaping out of the chimneys of smelters are ultimately deposited in agricultural fields or other land, which may be far from the smelting unit. Atmospheric metal enrichment, leading subsequently to pollution of soil, is also associated with other higher temperature anthropogenic activities, like burning of fossil fuels, production of cements, etc. For illustration, the emission of a few heavy metals due to burning of coal is given in Table 16.2. Despite modern technological advances, smelting operations and fossil fuel burning in industries continue to be important sources of heavy metals in the terrestrial environment.

Excessive concentrations of sulfur dioxide in the air are toxic for plants

Sulfur dioxide in the air, which is formed in particularly high amounts during the smelting of sulfur containing ores, and also during the combustion of fossil fuel, can cover the total nutritional sulfur requirement of a plant. In higher concentrations, however, it leads to dramatic damage in plants. Gaseous SO2 is taken up via the stomata into the leaves, where it is converted to sulfite

Consequences of UVB damage in aquatic ecosystems

Into organic material (Houghton & Woodwell, 1989 Siegenthaler & Sarmiento, 1993). This figure is again similar to that for terrestrial ecosystems. In both cases, most of this is released during the decay of the organic material. This natural carbon cycle is disturbed by the release of about 5 Gt of carbon from fossil fuel burning and another 2 Gt from (mostly tropical) deforestation. However, only 3 of the total of 7 Gt actually accumulate in the atmosphere. The remaining 4 Gt are believed to be removed from the cycle by the biological pump in the oceans organic and inorganic carbon falls out of the upper layers of the water column in the form of oceanic snow which is deposited in the deep sea. Thus, a decrease in the phytoplankton populations will result in an increase in the atmospheric C02 concentration, augmenting the greenhouse effect and the resulting sea level rise (Schneider, 1989).

Inputs from the atmosphere

Precipitation contains all of the plant nutrients in at least minute amounts to concentrations exceeding those in many soil solutions (Table 5.7). Local and regional geology (e.g., desert, proximity to ocean), type of vehicle (e.g., rain, cloud water), season, and a variety of other natural and anthropogenic factors determine the compositions of these solutions. Global change is also an increasingly important player. Mounting inputs reflect changing land use, especially the burning of biomass and the consumption of fossil fuels (Moffat 1998). Impacts on oligotrophic flora and many Bromeliaceae and other plants dependent on foliage and the atmosphere to acquire mineral nutrients seem likely whether burdens of reactive N continue to increase or level off. Acidified precipitation could exacerbate the problem given the weakly buffered nature of the rooting media and phy-totelmata of many of the epiphytes. A rising CO2 level further challenges attempts to predict plant responses to...

Plant fat is used for human nutrition and also as a raw material in industry

Plant fats are also important as industrial raw materials. Fatty acids are obtained after the hydrolysis of triacylglycerols. They have been in use as alkali salts in soap since ancient times. Fatty acid alcohols and fatty acid methyl esters are also used as detergents. Moreover, fatty acid methyl esters synthesized from rape seed oil are used as car fuel (bio diesel). The high quantities of glycerol released during the hydrolysis of fats are an important industrial raw material.

QTL Comparisons Across Taxa

In isolating genes responsible for QTLs, microcollinearity aids in designing new markers from well-studied plant species to be applied to more complex genomes or orphan crops. For instance, two wheat QTLs associating with vernalization genes (VRN1 and VRN2) (Dubcovsky et al. 1998 Tranquilli and Dubcovsky 2000) were cloned in part by designing additional markers based on the rice and sorghum genomes. Rice is syntenic to many corresponding regions containing genes involved in different developmental processes such as tassel and ear development in maize, and has been utilized for cloning these genes. Likewise, sorghum is closely related to major cellulosic biofuels crops including Saccharum (sugarcane) and Miscanthus, and its sequence is expected to accelerate progress in improvement of biofuels crops. Conservation of gene order between rice and barley genomes was not found in regions containing disease resistance (Bortiri et al. 2006). However, two of the three QTLs associated with...

Phosphorylation Dephosphorylation

Disadvantageous for plant productivity in modern agriculture because it results in resource allocation to stem growth, at the cost of leaf growth and the development of storage and reproductive structures. As this example illustrates, modern agricultural practices place different constraints on plant growth that have not been necessarily selected for during plant evolution, although the natural environment selects for certain traits. Traditionally, breeding efforts have been focused on optimizing grain yields by modulating those characteristics that affect these traits, such as plant height, branching and time of flowering. With the recent interest in lignocellulosic-based biofuels, however, a new breeding paradigm may emerge to optimize biomass at the expense of grain yield. Therefore, an understanding of light signalling might lead to the judicial manipulation of photoreceptor signalling pathways to improve the characteristics of these new traits.

Processing and Products

The global goal for soybean processing and utilization is to strengthen the development of new food, feed, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and industrial products, including co-products and ingredients for speciality applications. As of now, soybean derivatives are gaining importance not only in nutritious food products, but also as sources of phytochemicals and nutraceuticals to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes and so on. The emphasis in the non-food or industrial products markets is on biodegradable adhesives, plastics, coatings, inks, lubricants, biodiesel and more.

Human Influences on the Carbon Cycle

Humans are causing large changes in the carbon cycle. First, humans have altered the land biosphere by cutting forests to clear land for agriculture for lumber, pulp, and fuel wood and to make room for cities. Natural grasslands have also been plowed for agriculture. In the early 1990s about 38 percent of Earth's land surface was used for agriculture including croplands and pastures, according to United Nations statistics. When land is cleared, most of the carbon stored in the plants and much of that stored in the soils is converted to CO2 and lost to the atmosphere. Second, since the mid-1800s humans have learned to harness the energy stored in fossil fuels, mainly coal, oil, and natural gas. The term fossil fuels refers to the fact that these materials are composed of the fossil remains of ancient plants. When fossil fuels are burned, energy that can be used to light and heat our homes, drive our cars, and manufacture all the goods that we use from day to day is released. Burning...

Environmental Impacts

Compared to annually cultivated crops, perennial grasses are often considered environmentally favourable because the more dense and continuous vegetative cover provides protection to the soil against erosion, may reduce runoff and nutrient loss and sequester carbon in the soil (Blanco-Canqui, 2010). Because perennials begin growth earlier in the year than annuals, perennial grasses are thought to be more synchronous with soil nutrient availability (mineralization) and plant uptake throughout the growing season, which may limit nutrient losses. The degree to which these benefits are realized in practice depends on the specific management practices employed, in addition to past management and the environmental context. Reduced runoff may be beneficial in settings where erosion or downstream flooding is problematic. However, in some settings, runoff and drainage from agricultural cropland are important sources of water for human communities and aquatic ecosystems. In these situations,...

Metabolism of membrane fatty acids in senescing tissues

The fatty acids of membranes are a rich source of carbon, and there is now compelling evidence that this carbon fuels the formation of ATP during senescence and, at least in some plants, is converted to phloem-mobile sucrose for transport to developing seeds (Wanner et al., 1982, 1991 Froman et al., 2000 Page et al., 2001 Cornah and Smith, 2002). It is also clear that the first step in this mobilization is de-esterification of fatty acids from complex membrane lipids including phospho-lipids and galactolipids (Thompson et al., 1998). These fatty acids in turn undergo j-oxidation in glyoxysomes forming acetyl-CoA for energy production and in many plants, but apparently not all (Charlton et al., 2005), conversion through the glyoxy-late cycle and the TCA cycle to oxaloacetate, leading to gluconeogenesis and the formation of sucrose (DeBellis et al., 1990).

Metal Hyperaccumulators For Phytoremediation Hype

Also, the success of the phytoremediation depends on the nature of the target metal. For example, due to different degrees of soil pollution and solubility, the cases of Cd and Pb are completely different. In many slightly Cd-contaminated agricultural soils, the phytoextraction approach should be more successful than on Pb-polluted soils, which need significant effort to immobilize Pb and to extract much higher metal content. Some crops produce biomass with an added value. For example, crops for industrial products, chemicals, biodiesel and other aromatic compounds.

Improved ecosystem services from plantations of the future

Mankind has altered and transformed 40-50 per cent of the ice-free terrestrial surface of the Earth and appropriates an estimated 20 per cent of the global net primary production (Imhoff et al, 2004). The world's population is predicted to increase by 34 per cent from today to reach 9.1 billion people in 2050 (FAO, 2009). At the same time, this population will be more urbanized and have higher income levels than today. This larger and richer population will place unprecedented demands on the Earth's natural resources for the production of food and fibre (FAO, 2009). Currently humans appropriate 40-50 per cent of the available fresh water, and this is predicted to increase to 70 per cent by 2050 (Postel et al, 1996). In addition, it has been estimated that humans have doubled the nitrogen inputs from fertilizing agricultural systems and fossil fuel burning into terrestrial ecosystems (Vitousek et al, 1997), and the current atmospheric nitrogen deposition has enhanced the forest carbon...

Drivers of Global Soybean Market and Trade

The key driver of soybean market growth is the macro-economy of the suppliers and consumers of soybean and its products (Informa Economics, 2005). Market demand for soybean and its value is derived from soybean meal and soybean oil (Rausser and Carter, 1983). Global movements towards biofuels, functional foods and the increasing replacement of protein sourced from fishmeal with that sourced from soybean meal in livestock feed formulations have been driving global soybean marketing and trade, leading to drastic price increases that are not likely to fall or stabilize soon. This may benefit large-scale soybean producers and increase economic incentives for emerging soybean-producing countries such as Argentina (Perez et al., 2008). Some of these driving factors are further discussed below.

Land Use and C02 Emissions

The influence of C02 emissions from burning of fossil fuels on the global climate is intensified by the release of C02 from changes in land use (see Fig. 5.2.6). Changes in land use amount to about 20 of global C02 emissions - the trend is increasing. Man influences the global C balance by

Climate change mitigation

Owing to their capacity to sequester atmospheric CO2, there has recently been much interest in using plantations in climate change mitigation strategies. In Chapter 3, five strategies for the contribution of the forestry sector have been identified (1) increasing the forest area through afforestation (2) increasing the carbon stored in existing forests (3) protecting existing carbon stocks from release into the atmosphere (4) increasing the carbon stored in products (yielding also indirect greenhouse gas mitigation through material substitution) and (5) substituting fossil fuels with bioenergy derived from forest biomass and wood (see above).

Applications of modified levels of plant PDglucans

In addition to the biological importance of these polysaccharides, interest in the GT2 and GT48 enzymes that are believed to be involved in their biosynthesis has been stimulated by the commercial and nutritional properties of the polysaccharide products of the enzymes. Thus, these plant polysaccha-rides are of fundamental importance in plant growth and development, resistance to pathogen invasion, the quality of plant-based foods and the properties of plant fibres and fuels. Cellulose, for example, represents the world 's largest renewable carbon resource. Cellulose biogenesis by land plants and marine algae from photosynthetically-derived carbohydrate occurs at the prodigious rate of 8.5 x 1010 tonnes per year. One particularly promising agro-mdustrial application is in the replacement of fossil fuels with bioethanol. Currently, bioethanol production is increasing rapidly, and with recent advances in the catalytic efficiency of hydrolytic enzymes and non-enzymatic methods for...

Changing pattern of soybean production and export as demand increases

During recent years, the export of soybean by the USA has also been declining due to the alternative uses of soybean as a biodiesel and the recent policy changes that have given tax breaks or subsidies for the production of biodiesel from soybean. Competition (with maize) for land for ethanol production is also likely to decrease US soybean production and export (Elobeid et al., 2006).

Changing demand for soybean

Based on demand and importation, the developed countries are the major consumers of soybean produced in the world. In 2000, high-income countries accounted for 46 of total soybean demand (165 million t), 90 of which was for non-food use - mainly animal feeds and, more recently, biodiesel. Similar to the USA and Brazil, the demand for soybean biodiesel is increasing in the EU. Europe has set targets for biofuels in order to reduce petroleum carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels (Ash et al., 2006). The demand for soybean products in East Asia and Latin America presents an interesting trend (Fig. 20.1). The East Asia and Pacific share of the world demand for soybean will increase from about 0.2 (or 20 ) in 2000 to about 0.25 (or 25 ) in 2020, driven mainly by China. The region's share of the world demand for soybean will then start falling and reach about 0.2 (or 20 ) again in 2050. Latin America and Brazil show a decreasing share of the global soybean demand. India presents a...

CisMotif Context Modified the Centre for Synthetic Promoter Engineering

The primary component of a synthetic promoter is the region known as a regulatory module, fused upstream to the core promoter. The cis-motif context (i.e. motif position, spacing, orientation, copy number and specific combination) of a synthetic module serves as the principal target for promoter modification strategies. Furthermore, modification of cis-regulatory architecture does not only allow 'fine-tuning' and or enhancement of transgene transcriptional activity and inducibility, but sheds light on the functional role of defined cis-motif sequences binding to particular TFs in response to a specific stimulus (Fig. 20.2a). Synthetic promoters have successfully been used in a number of plant studies to either elucidate the role of cis-regulatory elements or to modulate targeted inducibility (using prior knowledge of c s-motif function), independently and or within a specific c s-motif arrangement. Examples include c s-motifs that are strongly associated with heat shock, light,...

Proteomics in Crop Improvement

Optimization of crop yield and quality are perhaps the two most important factors for growers therefore, crop improvement involving the engineering of plants is an area that will likely continue to be the focus of a significant amount of research as well as funding. In addition to the rapidly increasing global population, several factors including social, geopolitical, economical, and environmental factors have raised concerns regarding the ability to produce a sufficient amount of high-quality, nutritious food in an efficient and sustainable manner throughout the world. It was estimated in the late 1990s that about two billion people worldwide suffer from malnutrition and or hunger this figure is likely to increase as the global population continues to grow at an alarming rate, with a projected world population of over nine billion by 2050 and with much of the increase occurring in developing nations 35 . Although it is estimated that approximately...

Reasons for increases in the price of soybean products

Contribution of soybean to production of biodiesel in 2006 2007 by major producing countries (reprinted with permission from Trostle, 2008). Table 20.3. Contribution of soybean to production of biodiesel in 2006 2007 by major producing countries (reprinted with permission from Trostle, 2008). aAbout two thirds of EU biodiesel production is derived from rapeseed. aAbout two thirds of EU biodiesel production is derived from rapeseed. Increasing fossil fuel prices have prompted efforts by Brazil, Argentina, the USA and EU countries to develop alternative energy sources, including soybean-based biodiesel. Increasing fossil fuel prices have also increased soybean production costs, contributing to the increasing prices of soybean and other foods (Benson et al., 2008). Policies in these countries have been designed to give incentives for the production of biofuels. This has also led to increasing production of ethanol, which is maize-based. Import and export restrictions, in...

Conclusions and Implications Policy and Research for the Soybean Sector

Two main challenges and opportunities are worth mentioning as far as the future of soybean is concerned. First is the growing global energy demand and soaring energy prices. These continue to increase the demand for alternative energy sources, including soybean oil as biodiesel. The second is China's ever-growing demand for soybean products. This is also true of the industrial uses of soybean oil and by-products to meet the expansion of manufacturers. These expected trends may benefit big soybean producers, but will also prove to be a challenge unless there is a technological breakthrough in efficiently producing and marketing soybean internationally. There are, however, certain constraints in the soybean sector at the global level. One of these is the incomplete soybean value chain. There is a need to develop institutions to address the missing links along the soybean value chain and reduce the transaction costs of doing business in soybean and its products. New and emerging uses of...

Effect of policy on pattern of soybean trade

The USA has now enacted the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which set a goal of producing 28.5 billion l of biofuel by the year 2012. More ambitious is the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which sets a goal of producing 136 billion l of biofuel (of which 4 billion l will be biodiesel) by 2022 (Tyner, 2008). This has led to a robust growth in biodiesel production from soybean. The Acts are accompanied by subsidies and other incentives for farmers, developers of technologies and biofuel producers (see Tyner, 2008, for a complete review). Efforts to increase biofuel production have been driven by the need to reduce CO2 and sulphur emissions. The USA enacted Clean Air Act amendments in 1990, seeking to lower sulphur emissions (Tyner, 2008). Assuming that only soybean-based biodiesel is blended with fossil diesel to achieve the Clean Air Act, it will require 15 of USA soybean production (Ash et al., 2006). Brazil and Argentina have also formulated policies to reduce dependence on...

Expected Future Trends Export and Import in Global Soybean Marketing and Trade

EU soybean meal and soybean grains import has exhibited some slow growth. Increases in grain and rapeseed meal feeding are expected to continue to slow the growth in EU soybean meal and soybean imports. This is because the increase in grain and rapeseed meal replaces soybean meal, given that the two products (soybean meal and rapeseed meal) are substitutes (USDA, 2005). Abundant EU grain stocks, lower internal EU grain prices due to Agenda 2000 price cuts, increased barley production due to Common Agricultural Policy 2003 reforms, greater supplies of coarse grains from acceding countries and more rapeseed meal available as a result of the biofuels initiative are combining to slow the growth of soybean meal consumption. These factors are partially offset by increases in dairy quota and increased feeding of soybean meal.

Ectomycoremediation of Organic Xenobiotics

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous pollutants that represent an important risk to the environment and human health (Kuiper et al. 2004 Koivula et al. 2004). PAHs consist of a diverse group of organic molecules with a wide range of chemical properties (number of aromatic rings, molecular weight, and structural configuration), water solubility, and volatility. Particularly, higher-ringed PAHs are recalcitrant to degradation and include toxic, mutagenic, teratogenic, and carcinogenic compounds. PAH contaminations of the soil are mainly the result of leakage from old storage tanks or natural oil reservoirs, oil spills, road surfaces, domestic waste, incomplete fossil fuel combustion, former gas plant facilities, and tanker accidents (Morgan and Watkinson 1989).

Polyploidy Evolution of New Genomes

Sugarcane, an important biofuel crop, has undergone at least two genome duplications since its divergence from sorghum 8-9 mya (Jannoo et al. 2007). Polyploidy further added to the complexity of its genome (n 18-85 versus n 10 for sorghum) which not only impedes breeding progress but also makes challenging the job of understanding the sugarcane genome or its transmission genetics (Ming et al. 2005). Comparative genome mapping studies suggest a high degree of collinearity between the gene order of sugarcane and sorghum genomes (Ming et al. 2002).

Palynology of Bryophytes

All these groups have well preserved fossil ancestors and representative genera and species. Isospores, miospores, microspores, megaspores and sporangial structures producing them have been well preserved in the form of fossils. Some of them find applications in palynostratigraphic correlation, which is widely used in the exploration of fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

Pollen Morphology of Gymnosperms

As mentioned earlier, basically the terminology used for describing pollen morphological characters in gymnosperms and angiosperms is the same. In the present chapter only a brief account of pollen morphological variation observed in various groups of modern and fossil groups of gymnosperms will be given. Fossil gymnospermous pollen have been extensively used in palynostratigraphy, which are of great significance in the exploration of fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

Genomics Tools For Weeds That Are Under Development

Rich genomics resources have been developed from B. distachyon since it is used as a model for grain crops (wheat and barley in particular), forages, turfgrasses, and herbaceous biofuel crops such as switchgrass intro.html). Many attributes make B. distachyon an excellent model organism, including a small genome (355 Mb per haploid genome), diploid accessions, a series of polyploid accessions (tetraploid and hexaploid), a small physical stature, inbreeding, simple genetics, a short life cycle (two months), and simple growth requirements (Draper et al. 2001 Garvin 2007, Garvin et al. 2008). In addition, it is amenable to efficient transformation procedures (Christiansen et al. 2005 Vogel et al. 2006a). Genomics resources being developed include a set of inbred diploid Brachypodium lines (Vogel et al. 2006a), more than 20,000 ESTs and 8,500 potential SSR markers (Vogel et al. 2006b http ), and deep bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries and high-density...

Morphology of Microfossils

During the maceration of sediments along with the pollen grains and spores, a large quantity of microfossils are also recovered, though their affinity with plants and animals is uncertain. These microfossils have abundant applications in interpreting stratigraphical and paleoenvironmental conditions, which have applied scope in the fossil fuel exploration. Technically, the study of these microfossils also forms part of the palynological investigation. As the name indicates the microfossils comprise minute remains of fossil organisms. These organisms lived in the past in a variety of habitats. The detailed study of microfossils got a real boost after realization of their applied importance, particularly in the exploration of fossil fuels.

Synergies and tradeoffs between ecosystem goods and services

Regarding the influence of plantations to reduce atmospheric CO2, sequestration and storage need to be separated. Sequestration, the uptake of carbon into vegetation and its partial transfer into the soil pool, removes CO2 from the atmosphere. This process is tightly coupled with plantation productivity. Storage of C in vegetation and soils simply prevents C from being released to the atmosphere as CO2. Forest systems such as plantations may have a high sequestration potential but little storage, whereas the opposite situation can be found in old-growth forests. For many of the management options it is difficult to ascertain the effect that they have on atmospheric CO2 since this depends to a large extent on the fate of the material harvested (see Chapter 3). If the harvested wood is turned into long-lived products, which, at the end of their service live, are used energetically to offset fossil fuel burning, the effect can be very positive. In contrast, if the wood is turned into...

Miscanthus Species Genetic Improvement

Another trait that is most important to alter is composition of the cell walls. The bulk of mature plant biomass represents secondary cell walls consisting mainly of a complex polysaccharide framework, several types of highly glycosylated proteins and complex polymers of phenylpropanoid units, that is, lignin, the hydrophobic filler that provides physical strength to the cell wall. Various structural and chemical characteristics of plant cell walls that act as the first barrier between plant and environment have evolved in order to resist external stresses from pathogen attack, wounding or mechanical stimuli. These cell wall properties make it difficult to disassemble biomass when it is used for liquid biofuel production however, high lignin can be advantageous for burning since it has a higher energy content than carbohydrate.

Minor Applications of Pollen Studies

There is no doubt that pollen studies have many applications, which can be classified into major and minor applications for the sake of convenience and proper understanding. Major applications are incorporated in Chapter 12 on Melissopalynology, Chapters 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 on various aspects of Aerobiology, Chapter 20 on Forensic Palynology and Chapter 21 on use of pollen studies in exploration of fossil fuels Palaeopalynology and reconstruction of past vegetation (Palaeoecology).

Temporal response patterns considerations and controls

Given that gross primary productivity (GPP), aboveground respiration, and soil respiration represent three of the largest fluxes in the terrestrial global carbon cycle (estimated at 120, 60, and 60 Pg C yr-1, respectively Schlesinger 1997), it is imperative to understand if and to what degree these processes will acclimate to changing environmental conditions such as CO2 enrichment and global warming. Even slight changes in the direction and or magnitude of these fluxes could equal or exceed the annual input of CO2 to the atmosphere via combined fossil fuel combustion and land-use changes (estimated at Pg C yr-1), and could therefore significantly accelerate - or decelerate - the rate of atmospheric build-up of CO2, with consequent feedbacks to climate change. Homeostasis is the 'maintenance of or 'return to' constant internal conditions in the face of a varying external environment (Ricklefs 1990). Classic examples include (a) the thermal regulation of homeotherms despite external...

Key Nematodes on Food Staples for Food Security in Developing Countries

Been estimated that about 70 of the land cultivated for food crops is devoted to cereal crops. The global population is projected to increase steadily to around 9 billion by 2050 and with this demand for the staple cereals of rice, maize and wheat will increase (Dixon et al. 2009). Projections suggest that over this period the demand for maize will grow faster than that for wheat due to the use of maize as animal and poultry feed and the increasing demand for biofuel. The demand for wheat will grow faster than that for rice and is likely to follow closely the growth in global population over this period (FAO 2006 Dixon et al. 2009).

Study Of Pollen Grains Introduction

The second and major part of this book comprises chapters on application of pollen studies in various fields such as agriculture, horticulture, plant breeding, enhancing honey production (melissopalynology), as an important tool in forensic science, reconstruction of past vegetation and environmental pollution and its effect on health particularly with reference to pollen allergy. Applications of airborne pollen and mould spores have been thoroughly explained in seven different chapters covering various aspects of aerobiology and allergy. This has been done on account of the significant role of aerobiological studies in allergy and immunology. Minor applications of pollen studies also include a brief account of copropalynology, which concerns pollen analysis of coprolites and other faeces of animals that throw light on past vegetation, feeding habits of animals of the present and past. A detailed account of most common aeroallergens and their source plants such as Ambrosia (Ragweed),...

Soil Cd Contamination

The release of Cd into the environment constitutes a significant pollution problem. The release of Cd from anthropogenic activities is estimated to be about 4,000 to 13,000 tons per year, with major contributions from mining activities, and burning of fossil fuels (ATSDR 1999). The Cd-yellow oil colours used by landscape painters, including Claude Monet (Fig. 21.1a) is just one of the many valuable uses of Cd, contrasting with the pernicious effects that Cd can cause in plants (Fig. 21.1b). Other important applications of Cd are in metallurgical industry and in the manufacture of nickel-cadmium batteries,

Atmospheric Treatments

The changes in cytoplasmic pH are considered to be the controlling factor that regulate fermentative metabolism (Imahori et al. 2002b). A self-controlling system for lactate and ethanol production called the pH-stat hypothesis is proposed. This hypothesis suggests that at the onset of anaerobic stress LDH is active at alkaline pH of the cytoplasm and shunts pyruvate and lactate, and that the accumulation of lactate reduces cytoplasmic pH, which, in turn, inhibits LDH and activates PDC leading to ethanol production (Tadege et al. 1999 Imahori et al. 2003). Concentrations of substrates and cofactors may exert metabolic control on fermentation enzymes. The different Kms of pyruvate dehydro-genase (PDH) and PDC for pyruvate are the controlling factors that regulate the entry of pyruvate into the TCA cycle or the ethanolic fermentation pathway because the Km of plant PDHs for pyru-vate is in the M range, whereas that of PDCs is in the mM range (Tadege et al. 1999). However, this would be...

Short Rotation Forestry Using Sewage Sludge and Biosolids Implications

SRF has been successful in Sweden for the production of biofuel for the past 20 years. SRF takes its name from the short rotation time typical of poplar and willows (4 to 6 years) compared to conifers (60 to 120 years) or broadleaved trees (35 to 50 years). Under optimum conditions (i.e., intensive management strategies), SRF can yield between 12,000 and 20,000 kg dry matter (DM) ha-1 yr-1, although in general, lower yields of between 6000 and 9000 kg DM ha-1 yr-1 are more likely. If SRF is used for the generation of energy, approximately 4.5 MWh of energy can be produced from burning 1 ton of dry matter (50 moisture) 158 . The tree species used in biomass forestry vary between areas in which they are grown. Many of the SRF species commonly used, especially Populus spp., have also shown considerable potential in the remediation of groundwater contaminated with inorganic chemicals specifically, the P deltoides x nigra and P. trichocarpa x deltoides clones. SRF fulfills important...

System Stability and Change

Agroecologists use the idea of an agricultural ecosystem as a focus for the study of farming systems that are converting from single crops and synthetic inputs to ecologically based design and management. Ecological concepts and principles are applied for the development of alternative practices and inputs. A good example is research done by Sean Swezey and his colleagues on apples in California. After three years of using organic farming techniques, an apple orchard had begun to show a reduction in the use of fossil fuel energy. Nutrients were supplied from compost and annual cover crops planted in the rows between the trees during the winter season. Nutrient recycling and storage in leaves and branches within the apple agro-ecosystem improved soil conditions, reduced the need for fertilizer, and even led to increased yields. Insect pests normally controlled by synthetic pesticides were reduced instead by beneficial predatory insects that were attracted to the organic orchard by...

Pollen Graivn Preface

Palynology finds applications in various fields. Some of them are taxonomy, plant evolution, plant breeding programmes, biotechnology, microbiology of water, soil and air, the pharmaceutical industry, cosmetic industry, energy food industry, forensic science, aerobiology, allergy, epidemiology, meteorology, fossil fuel exploration and biodiversity.

Energy Flow

Energy flows into an ecosystem as a result of the capture of solar energy from the Sun by plants, and most of this energy is stored as biomass or used to maintain the internal processes of the system. But removing energy-rich biomass from the system causes changes. Human energy (considered renewable) as labor, and industrial energy (considered nonrenewable) from fossil fuels, become necessary. Agroecologists look for ways to increase the efficiency of the capture of energy from the Sun and increase the use of renewable energy, achieving a better balance between the energy needed to maintain internal processes and that which is needed for harvest export.

Ecologic Effects

Since the middle of the nineteenth century the population has increased from one billion to six billion, an increase that would not have been possible without increases in agricultural yields. Through breeding, plus the use of fossil fuels to plant, fertilize, and protect crops, the average yield of all plants and productivity per unit area has increased ten- to fiftyfold. At present humans produce and consume over a twenty-year period as much food


Plantations provide a multitude of valuable goods and services. Carbon sequestration is one of these services. Its importance has increased markedly because forests are seen as a key pillar of greenhouse gas mitigation to combat climate change. Five strategies for the contribution of the forestry sector have been identified (1) increase forest area (2) increase carbon stock in existing forests (3) protect existing stocks (4) increase carbon stored in products (yielding also indirect greenhouse gas mitigation through material substitution) and (5) substitute fossil fuels with bioenergy derived from forest biomass and wood.

Concluding Remarks

Like all 'second generation' targets (in other words those that affect output traits rather than inputs of herbicide or insecticide), the manipulation of photosynthate partitioning has yet to find a market in biotech crops. However, that may be about to change, with high-lysine corn ready for launch and a demand established for high-starch crops for biofuels. Therefore, it may well be that the next decade sees biotech crops with modified partitioning break through on to the market. Furthermore, the possibility that manipulating partitioning could make crops more efficient under high carbon dioxide conditions ensures that this area of research and development will remain a key one in crop biotechnology.

Transport Mechanisms

Humans are probably the most important biological vectors for nutrient transport on Earth, particularly for carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus. Anthropogenic combustion of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere in quantities that exceed the combined releases of CO2 from plant, animal, and microbial respiration, natural forest and grassland fires, and volcanic emissions. This has contributed to the build-up of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere and may alter the biogeochemical cycles of other elements. Fossil fuel combustion also releases nitrogen and sulfur, which ultimately contributes to the formation and deposition of acid rain. Mining of phosphorus, such as in Los Roques, has altered the long-term storage of phosphorus, increased the flux rate of the global phosphorus cycle, and contributed to the phosphorus pollution of freshwater ecosystems worldwide. These and other human activities are altering the biogeochemical cycles of nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and...

Biomass Fuels

Liquid biomass fuels can be produced from solid biomass by three processes fermentation to ethanol, processing of vegetable oils to biodiesel, or thermal processing to pyrolysis oils. Pyrolysis is the high-temperature decomposition of organic compounds in the absence of oxygen to produce liquids. The mixture of oxygenated hydrocarbons is similar to that found in fuel oil.


Jerusalem artichoke tuber mash, pulp and juice, and stem extract, the latter a temporary storage site for inulin prior to tuberization, have been utilized for ethanol production. The process includes saccharification of the inulin via acid or enzymatic hydrolysis, followed by fermentation (Lampe, 1932 Vadas, 1934) or the direct conversion to ethanol utilizing a microorganism that is capable of both hydrolysis and fermentation (Guiraud et al., 1981 Margaritis and Bajpai, 1982a, 1982b, 1982c). Initially acid hydrolysis was applied prior to fermentation with yeasts, such as Schizosac-charomyces pombe, or the bacterium Zymomonas mobilis, which are not capable of direct conversion however, undesirable by-products are formed during the acid hydrolysis and the step Fermentation may be via batch or continuous fermentation systems (Bajpai and Bajpai, 1991 Guiraud and Galzy, 1990 Margaritis and Merchant, 1984). Other options include free vs. immobilized cells (Daugulis et al., 1981 Ryu et al.,...


It is likely that such efforts will be considerably expanded in the near future as a result of tremendous increases in funding of plant cell wall research driven by increased demand for biofuels and enhanced biomass production. Major new research institutes dedicated to elucidating cell wall biology have been formed in the United States utilizing funding streams from government, private foundations, and industry. The future of the cell wall field therefore looks quite bright, and we believe that there will be considerable advances in the field in the near future.


Mercury (Hg) is a unique metal due to its different forms (e.g., HgS, Hg2+, Hg0, and methyl-Hg), but in agricultural soils it is predominantly found in the ionic form (Hg2+) (Han et al. 2006). Hg is relatively uncommon in the earth's crust, but it is released by natural processes (e.g., erosion and volcanic activity) or mining. Anthropogenic activities, both intentional (e.g., manufacture and distribution of mercury-based products) and unintentional (e.g., fossil fuel burning), represent the main sources of environmental contamination (Nagajyoti et al. 2010). However, the toxic effects of mercury in plants, which absorb the heavy metal, depend on factors such as plant species and soil properties. The main concern regarding mercury in plants is its incorporation into the food chain through the consumption of contaminated plants (Loredo et al. 2010). Increasing evidence has shown that Hg2+ can readily accumulate in higher plants. In low levels it may not significantly affect plant...

Carbon Cycle

Ing of Earth's surface (called the greenhouse effect) and thereby influencing the climate. Human activities such as burning fossil fuels and clearing forests are causing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to increase rapidly. Concern that global climate change may result has led to a pressing need for scientific research to better understand the global carbon cycle.

The Path of Carbon

Note that the geosphere (sedimentary rock) is by far the largest pool of carbon on Earth, but it exchanges only very slowly with the more active pools in the atmosphere, land biosphere, and oceans. Burning fossil fuels represents a huge increase in the transfer of carbon from the geosphere to the atmosphere, causing an increase in the amount of CO2 in the air (on average 3.1 billion tons of carbon accumulated in the atmosphere each year during the 1990s). More CO2 in the air drives large net uptake of carbon by the land biosphere and oceans. In pre-industrial times the atmosphere, oceans, and land biosphere were roughly in balance, and net exchanges between these pools were about zero.


The sorghum genome has not incurred genome duplication since the pan-cereal event (Paterson et al. 2004), making it an excellent out group for comparison with the duplicated genomes of maize and sugarcane, the worlds leading biofuel crop (Bedell et al. 2005 Bowers et al. 2005). Comparative mapping of Sorghum propin-quum (a closely related species) with sorghum and Oryza longistaminata shed light on genes related to domestication (Paterson et al. 1995 Hu et al. 2003). A comparative physical map of sorghum with rice and maize has identified probable euchro-matic regions in the grass family (Bowers et al. 2005).

New Varieties

The M. x giganteus clone used in University of Illinois feedstock research originated from rhizomes obtained from the Chicago Botanic Gardens (Glencoe, Illinois) in 1988 (Pyter et al., 2009) and has been part of a landscape demonstration planting at the University since that time. In addition to this common landscape clone, there are other M. x giganteus types being developed and marketed specifically for biomass production. For example, 'Freedom' Giant Miscanthus was developed at Mississippi State University and is being produced for commercial planting by SunBelt Biofuels (http Biofuel_Feedstock id 3536). New Energy Farms of Canada (http pricing.aspx) lists 'Amuri' and 'Nagara' as very cold-tolerant, high-yielding Miscanthus. Biotechnology firms such as Ceres, Inc. and Mendel Bioenergy Seeds are evaluating additional forms of Miscanthus to determine biomass potential.


Biomass crops for energy have a number of disadvantages compared to fossil fuels, including a relatively modest thermal content, an often high moisture content that inhibits combustion, and a low density and high volume that necessitate large-scale equipment for handling and combustion. Procedures to improve the properties of biomass primarily involve drying and compaction. Biomass has advantages over fossil fuel in that it is renewable, releases less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and is readily obtainable, inexpensive, and not subject to unpredictable shortages or steep cost increases (White and Plaskett, 1981). As with all alternative energy strategies, the economic feasibility of energy crops depends on the cost of competing conventional fuels. As fossil fuel prices increase, the economic viability of plant biomass options is enhanced. The two principal ways of obtaining energy from biomass are thermal (direct combustion) and biological (the conversion of organic matter to...


Energy from biomass traditionally plays a very important role in countries with developing economies. Recently, the global demand for bioenergy has been accelerating because of the depletion of fossil fuels and the CO2 reduction targets of most countries. This is putting further pressure on forested areas. For instance, over the last five years there has been a rapid development of new bio-fuel plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia (mainly oil palm) and Brazil (mainly soybean, maize) (e.g. Mantel et al, 2007 Reinders and Huijbregts, 2008 Fargione et al, 2008). This has often gone at the expense of natural forest areas. But also forests themselves, either planted or natural, are increasingly being used for bioenergy. In Europe, fast-growing short-rotation willow and poplar plantations are being used for bioenergy (chips) (e.g. Borjesson and Berndes, 2006), and also in tropical countries fast-growing species such as Acacia mangium and Eucalyptus sp. are increasingly being used for...

Direct biomonitoring

An alternative strategy to the measurement of heavy metals directly in mosses found in situ is the use of moss bags. Samples of mosses collected from clean areas are placed in nylon nets and exposed to a polluted area to enable concentrations in pollutants to be measured afterwards. The technique can be applied in environments, where mosses do not naturally occur. As an extreme example, mosses have been used as indicators of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon pollution resulting from the incomplete combustion of organic material, and fossil fuels in particular, in road tunnels (Zechmeister et al. 2006).

Direct Combustion

Jerusalem artichoke is unlikely to become a major biomass source for direct combustion because of the drying required. Zubr (1988) also noted that when the aim of energy generation by direct combustion is also the recycling of materials, then using Jerusalem artichoke might be hard to justify when biowastes are available. The crop is therefore more likely to become of greater significance as a wet feedstock in the production of biofuels. Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) can be produced from a wide variety of feedstocks, including wood, wastepaper, and crop residues. Ethanol produced from plant biomass is also known as bioethanol. The production of bioethanol from plant biomass involves the fermentation of pulped, mashed, or juiced plant material by yeasts and bacteria (Wiselogel et al., 1996). Bioethanol is a colorless, water-soluble, volatile liquid that can be utilized as a versatile fuel and fuel additive. It was recognized from the early days of the internal combustion engine that alcohol...

Breeding Programs

Radson Radiatoren

In France, research has been concentrated at Institut National de la Recherches Agronomique (INRA) institutions in Rennes, Clermont-Ferrand, and, more recently, Montpellier (Chabbert et al., 1983). Increased carbohydrate content for ethanol production has been one of the aims, and numerous crosses between cultivars held in the national germplasm collection have generated novel material for selection (Le Cochec and de Barreda, 1990). In Italy, breeding and field trials to select for enhanced tuber yields and inulin content have been conducted at ERSA (Entre Regionale di Svilippo Agricola della Regione Abruzzo). Clones selected to produce high yields in poor soils have been cultivated in Bari (Faget, 1993 De Mastro et al., 2004).

Oil extraction

Soya Lecithin Plant

Much soybean oil is used for edible applications such as for cooking, salad oil, dressing, shortening, margarine, mayonnaise and confectionery coating. Soybean oil is also being used for biodiesel, lubricants and cleaning salad oil, shortening, margarine, mayonnaise, biodiesel. Lecithin, soy oil derivatives Protein Soy meal livestock feed, de-fatted soy flour, soy These products are sold by companies in packaged forms of different sizes through stores and used every day. Examples Lubricant and greases Biodiesel Auto polish Building material Obtained during soybean oil refining, and also known as scum oil. Sludge is composed of a complex mixture of aggregated compounds, tocopherol (vitamin E), sterol esters (campestene, sitosterol), squalene and free fatty acids (FFA). Tocopherol, the basis of the demand to process this by-product, can be used by the vitamin market and as a nutraceutical, sterol or feed stock for hormone production squalene, a high carbon source for cosmetic and...


By contrast with SO2, several other compounds, particularly nitrogen oxides, have been drastically increasing during the past several decades as a result of farming, fertilizer production and fossil fuel burning, resulting in an alarming eutrophication of the environment. This trend is well illustrated by the two-to three-fold increase in nitrogen concentrations during the twentieth century that has been reported in moss tissues from herbarium collections (Fig. 9.4) (Woolgrove & Woodin 1996). Although several countries have expressed the intention to reduce nitrogen emissions (see UN ECE-protocol from Gothenburg at env lrtap), this trend is likely to continue as a result of fossil fuel consumption and fertilizer use and to lead to a projected 60 increase by 2020, with dramatic consequences for ecosystems (Lee 1998).

Fuelwood Species

Fijian Yasi Tree

Replaced by cheaper, more efficient and more convenient sources of energy such as fossil fuels and electricity in developed countries. In developing countries, the process of replacing fuelwood is still in its initial stages, and wood continues to be the dominant fuel for domestic cooking and heating. According to FAO estimates, about 80 of wood removed all over the world is used as fuel in developing countries, and a large majority of rural people and urban poor depend upon it for providing domestic energy. Pakistan has a very small forest resource, as forests cover only about 4.8 of its total land area only about half of these forests are productive, where timber and fuelwood can be harvested on a sustained basis. Although the foresters' community was advocating for the development and extension of forestry in the country from the time Pakistan gained independence in 1947 to meet the growing needs of fuelwood and timber, nothing substantial was done in this regard until the late...

Palavlali Navaree

Ca. 10 to around 20 in the last ten years (Figure 2.6). With the overall oil production showing a large increase, still much more oil is available for food purposes and this trend is projected to continue (Figures 2.4 and 2.6). A large proportion of the increased non-food usage has been for fuel, most notably biodiesel, but with advances in genetic engineering for specific properties for industrial chemical usages, as outlined above, and advances in chemical engineering of vegetable oils for certain end uses, plant oils will become increasingly attractive as industrial chemical feedstocks. Also, although historically more expensive than petroleum, the cost of producing plant oils is decreasing while petroleum production is becoming more expensive, and reserves are finite and expected to be largely depleted in the next 50 years. Although plant oils are still more expensive than crude petroleum, the price difference is decreasing (USDA, 2009 Anon., 2010) (Figure 2.7). In the mid-late...

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Your Alternative Fuel Solution for Saving Money, Reducing Oil Dependency, and Helping the Planet. Ethanol is an alternative to gasoline. The use of ethanol has been demonstrated to reduce greenhouse emissions slightly as compared to gasoline. Through this ebook, you are going to learn what you will need to know why choosing an alternative fuel may benefit you and your future.

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