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Researchers Simplify Process to Turn Biomass Waste Materials into High Value Chemicals

A step towards a more sustainable bio-based economy has been given a new enhance by researchers who’ve been capable of simplifying a process to remodel waste materials into high-value chemical compounds.

A partnership between the UK and Brazil has shown that waste sugar cane, and wheat straw from agricultural processes may be made directly into valuable chemical substances with a rise in the value of 5000-fold.

Unlike fossil fuels, biofuels are renewable, instead of relying on crude oil, which is in finite supply. Nevertheless, the economics of producing biofuels is, at present, challenging compared to fossil fuels.

The breakthrough demonstrates that top-value chemical substances, including chemicals used in the food industry and precursors for human therapeutic drugs, could be produced directly from waste biomass in a single “one-pot” process. This added value provides the potential to make the economics of biofuel production from plant-based sources more viable.

This agricultural by-product is presently burnt rather than reused. The brand new process supplies suitable alternative routes to fine chemical substances currently derived from petrochemical sources, and also, has the potential to add worth to the process of creating biofuels from plants mainly from wheat straw and sugarcane, which are abundantly present in the U.K and Brazil respectively.

The chemical building blocks are used to make everyday products from air fresheners, fabric softener, flavoring for meals stuff and life-saving medicines, and new drug candidates under medical development.

The international group of scientists has demonstrated the production of the versatile chemical building block, coniferol, for the first time, straight from dry plant matter biomass. Following the biocatalytic treatment of the waste plant matter to release and convert ferulic acid into coniferol with more efficiency.

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