woboeThe main goal of the Bio-energy Group is to understand the biosynthesis of plant cell walls to provide the fundamental knowledge necessary to design plant cell walls that are easier to process into simple sugars. These sugars can then be further fermented to bio-ethanol or other bio-based products, such as bioplastics. We have a main focus on understanding the biosynthesis, polymerization and structure of lignin. In addition, we aim at modifying the cell wall by expressing cell wall degrading enzymes in the plant. Our research is heavily supported by metabolomics. Successful gene discovery programs in Arabidopsis are followed up by translational research in crops such as poplar and maize. Our efforts will underpin the transition from a fossil-based to a sustainable bio-economy.

Lignin
Lignin is an aromatic heteropolymer that is mainly deposited in the walls of secondary-thickened cells.
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Translational researchWhen reverse genetics in Arabidopsis shows that the biomass is easier to process into glucose, the expression of orthologous genes will be modified in poplar or maize.

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Second generation bio-ethanolIt is now well-recognized that burning fossil fuels and deforestation are major contributors to climate change, and that plant biomass can serve as an alternative renewable and carbon-neutral raw material for the production of bio-energy.
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