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Lignocellulosic biomass of Panicum maximum Jacq forage grass produced in simulated future climate conditions: potential source of fermentable sugars for bioenergy

Grant number: 17/23989-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2018
Effective date (End): September 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry
Principal Investigator:Maria de Lourdes Teixeira de Moraes Polizeli
Grantee:Emanuelle Neiverth de Freitas
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):19/07141-5 - Formulation of an optimized synergistic enzyme cocktail with accessory enzymes to enhances the hydrolytic performance of Panicum maximum Jacq, BE.EP.DR


The depletion of fossil fuels and the pollution generated by them, such as the emission of greenhouse gases, has stimulated the search for alternative and renewable sources of energy. Biomass produced by fast-growing grasses such as Panicum genus, commonly used as fodder, can be important sources of clean energy production, but it is necessary to estimate their biomass potential production in simulated future climate situations. Lignocellulosic biomass is mainly composed of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, and therefore, it is necessary the joint action of many enzymes for fermentable sugars production. However, lignin presents as a barrier to the action of cellulolytic enzymes, making necessary a pretreatment process in order to increase the accessibility of the enzymes on the cellulosic portion of the biomass. Many pretreatment methods are available, however, biological pretreatment seems to be the most promising, since it does not generate fermentation inhibitory compounds and is considered an eco-friendly process. The present work aims to evaluate the potential of the Panicum maximum Jacq. Mombaça variety as an alternative source for bioenergy, after being submitted to high temperature treatment (+ 2 ° C) and higher CO2 concentrations (600ppm), simulating future climatic conditions. It will be studied different lignocellulolytic enzymes from fungi, aiming the development of an enzymatic consortium with potential to be applied in industries or in biological pre-treatments, in order to increase the hydrolysis yield. To evaluate the morphological and chemical characteristics of the biomass before and after the pretreatment, an Infrared Spectrophotometer with Fourrier Transform (FTIR), Scanning Electron Microscope, X-Ray Diffraction and chemical composition analysis will be used. Depending on the project approval, an extension of the research plan can be developed under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Leonardo Gomez at York University, aiming to increase the efficiency of the process by digestion and cell wall studies.