Abstract by Ryan Rutter
Chemistry and Biochemistry
MICROBIAL PRETREATMENT OF BIOMASS FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCTION
A refined microbial pretreatment of biomass allows for a greater anaerobic conversion into methane. Significant attention in biofuel research is given towards anaerobic digestion of organic material in order to produce methane. This is a common and spontaneous chemical process. However, it is severely limited by compounds within biomass - such as lignin and hemicellulose - which may be difficult to break down, or may produce toxic substrates. For this reason several approaches to pretreatment have been developed to deconstruct the biomass and improve yield. This presentation will address the advantages and disadvantages of pretreating biomass with caldicellulosiruptor bescii (c. bescii), a particularly effective thermophilic microbe. This presentation will also communicate the challenges and ongoing work to refine this form of pretreatment.