Probing plant cell structure to find the best biofuel crops

When you are really short on money, Ramen noodles seem to do the trick. When you are searching for the best plant matter to use for biofuels, Raman imaging works better. In fact, I don't think the noodles would help you at all for that, but hey, that's just me - you can do as you please.

According to this article, "Analytical chemist Emily Smith plans to use Raman imaging to study plant cell structure to determine which crops offer the right combination of cell wall composition and degradation to maximize the materials' conversion to ethanol. If successful, a simplified version of the test could even be used in the field to determine if plants were at the prime stage for harvest." By using this technique, researchers say that they can see the harmful lignin content of feedstock, and whether it changes as the plant matures. The details on how all of this works can be found here and here.

[Source: Ames Laboratory]

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