Faster decomposing trees can save energy costs


Capital News Service
LANSING — Poplars and other trees can be bred to break down more easily to make biofuel and other products such as paper, according to scientists at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. Their new study found that zip-lignin, an enzyme that indicates the high degradability of plants and that they injected into trees, is already in most plants. Plants that naturally have the highest amount can be selectively bred. The center is a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan State University and other partners. It was established by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Grassland biofuels better for bees, researchers find

Capital News Service
LANSING – A hand-held vacuum seems an unlikely tool in a field ecologist’s kit. But sucking up bees from sunflowers was a necessary step in assessing how human energy needs may affect Michigan pollinators. Researchers from Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin recently published a study comparing the effects of two types of biofuel production on Michigan’s bee populations. Biofuels are fuels derived from renewable plant or animal sources that can reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The study compared two sources of biofuels: annual biofuel crops, such as corn and soybeans, and perennial biofuel crops, like prairie grass and switchgrass.