<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=iA1Pi1a8Dy00ym" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="" />
Dismiss
Skip Navigation

Biotechnology Applications

Introduces biotechnology uses in medicine and agriculture.

Atoms Practice
Estimated2 minsto complete
%
Progress
Practice Biotechnology Applications
 
 
 
MEMORY METER
This indicates how strong in your memory this concept is
Practice
Progress
Estimated2 minsto complete
%
Practice Now
Turn In
I Want A Car That Runs On Celery!
Teacher Contributed

Cellulosic Biofuel

Inedible parts of plants are rich in cellulose

Topic

Cellulosic Biofuel

Why It Matters

Just as living organisms use sugars as a source of fuel, when scientists look to make fuel from biological sources sugars are key to the process. Cellulose is a long molecule made by plants, and in this case long means they can have up to over 10,000 repeating units. These units are types of sugars. Around 33% of all plant matter on Earth is made of cellulose, and some species of plants can be up to 90% cellulose. This situation makes cellulose a very attractive source for sugars for biofuel. Unfortunately, cellulose isn't sugar, and the plants who made them didn't make them to be easily taken apart. Plants use cellulose mainly for structural support, and they wouldn't have much of a structure if it was easily taken apart. Fortunately, scientists like challenges and they are using natural enzymes made by some organisms (like bacteria and fungi) as models to make artificial enzymes which will release the sugars in cellulose and make them available for the manufacture of ethanol (C2H5OH) for biofuel.

An artificial cellulosome.

Explore More

If you need help scratching a mental itch, use the resources below:

  1. What are cellulosomes?
  2. Through the pursuit of cellulosic biofuel scientists are learning how to make artificial enzymes for specific purposes. Can you think of any other enzymes which would be useful for scientists to produce?
  3. What other characteristics should a plant species have to be a good candidate for use in making cellulosic biofuel? 

Resources Cited

    Notes/Highlights Having trouble? Report an issue.

    Color Highlighted Text Notes
    Please to create your own Highlights / Notes
    Show More

    Image Attributions

    Explore More

    Sign in to explore more, including practice questions and solutions for Significance of Carbon.
    Please wait...
    Please wait...
    Add Note
    Please to create your own Highlights / Notes