Published in Chemistry World, 5 Jul 2010
Researchers in the US have demonstrated an imaging technique for studying the conversion of biomass into fuel-friendly sugars. The technique, called stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy, is better than others because it can give quantitative readings of the species present.
Biomass is often cited as a renewable source of energy that could reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Its two most important species are lignins and polysaccharides, which can be broken down into simple sugars for fermentation into ethanol. However, with many different types of chemical bonds, and with very complex structures, lignins don’t take to decomposition easily. Scientists try to do it with enzymes, but to understand the most effective methods they need analytical tools to study the process. […]
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