Energy Crops for Biofuel Feedstocks: Facts and Recent Patents on Genetic Manipulation to Improve Biofuel Crops
Affiliation: Division of Biochemistry, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi-110012, India.
Keywords: Biofuel production, Bioethanol, Energy crops, Genetic engineering, Lignin modification.
Burning fossil-fuels to meet the global energy requirements by human being has intensified the concerns of increasing
concentrations of greenhouse gases. Therefore, serious efforts are required to develop nonfossil-based renewable
energy sources. Plants are more efficient in utilizing solar energy to convert it into biomass which can be used as feedstocks
for biofuel production. Hence with the increasing demands of energy and the needs of cost-effective, sustainable
production of fuels, it has become necessary to switch over to plant biomass as a renewable source of energy. Biofuels derived
from more sustainable biological materials such as lignocellulosic plant residues, considered as second generation
biofuels, are more dependable. However, there are technical challenges such as pretreatment and hydrolysis of lignocellulosic
biomass to convert it into fermentable sugars. Plant genetic engineering has already proven its potential in modifying
cell wall composition of plants for enhancing the efficiency of biofuel production. Interest and potential in the area are
very much evident from the growing number of patents in the recent years on the subject. In this review, recent trends in
genetic engineering of energy crops for biofuel production have been introduced, and strategies for the future developments
have been discussed.
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