C. MONTANIER - Green resources and White Biotechnology
Vendredi 23 octobre 2015 à 11h - Salle de séminaires FR AIB
Plants are ancient beings, having emerged from the oceans 475 M years ago. Since then, the cell walls of terrestrial plants have constantly evolved in order to fulfil multiple functions such as protection from external aggressions, skeletal support, energy storage, or intracellular communication. Plant cell walls consist of a complex network of cellulose, hemicelluloses and pectins that cross-link with each other mainly via non-covalent bonds. In some specific plant walls, phenolic-based lignins can also be present, which confer additional rigidity and compressive strength to the cell walls, as well as rendering them hydrophobic and water impermeable. It is thus hardly surprising that plant biomass is rather recalcitrant to chemical or biological degradation.However, with 100 million tons produced per year, equating to the release of energy equivalent to 600 billion barrels of oil, plant biomass has a vast potential as a renewable and environmentally friendly energy resource, principally for the manufacture of advanced fuels, chemicals intermediates and products.
In Nature, the plant-based organic carbon contained within plant cell walls is mainly recycled by the action of cellulolytic microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, which produce complex arrays of cell wall-degrading enzymes. Advanced bio-refineries already use some of these wall-degrading enzymes for the conversion of biomass principally for conversion into ethanol. However, conversion of plant cell wall polysaccharides remains unsatisfactory and in the present era marked by the desire to build a bio-economy, it is then more urgent than ever to develop efficient ways of deconstructing biomass.
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