Global demand on energy combined with dwindling fuel reserves has led to record fuel prices around the world and resulted in a concerted effort to identify alternate and sustainable fuel supplies. One such alternative is to produce cellulosic biofuels through the conversion of complex sugars found in plant cell walls (plant biomass) into fuels. While the synthesis of cellulosic biofuels is currently an achievable technology, associated production costs due to biomass recalcitrance, sugar composition and ineffectual conversion make their production impractical. In order to overcome these issues significant research will be required in areas ranging from plant cell wall biosynthesis, microbial host metabolism and tolerance that enable targeted engineering of these systems. Proteomics will play a central role in implementing this strategy by identifying new targets for biofuel crop engineering, analyzing engineered biochemical pathways and characterizing plant cell wall biosynthesis. This review will examine the current use of proteomics to fast-track cellulosic biofuel production and evaluate the potential of this technology to provide significant breakthroughs in this area.
Keywords: Biofuels, synthetic biology, feedstocks, targeted proteomics, bioenergy
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