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Significant step forward in biofuels quest

Researchers from the Department of Chemistry at York have discovered a family of enzymes that can degrade hard-to-digest biomass into its constituent sugars.

While 'first generation' biofuels have made some impact in the search for renewable energy sources from easy-to-digest food sources such as corn starch, there is concern about the use of valuable arable land threatening food price stability and limiting the amount of biofuel that can be made in this way.

By studying the biological origins and the detailed chemistry of the enzyme family, the researchers have shown that Nature has a wide range of methods of degrading biomass which humankind can now harness in its own endeavour to produce sustainable biofuels.

Further information is available here.

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