Cellulose: A mystery and a challenge for biomass energy conversion

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

As the most abundant and renewable biopolymer, cellulose will continue to have an increasing role as a feedstock for engineered materials and biologically derived energy. Cellulose is the main structural fiber in plants and has already been used for millennia for heating, creating a diverse array of structures and tools, and for making paper. Although cellulose has been studied for over 150 years, with significant advances made over the past few decades on its biosynthetic pathway, structure and assembly, its synthesis and native structure remain a mystery. Given that the recalcitrance of cellulose, associated with its crystal-like structure, is a key obstacle in reducing cellulose into its monomeric glucose units useful for biofuel production, this lack of fundamental understanding of its structure and assembly is impacting the development of improved energy production technologies. In this article, the synthesis and structure of cellulose will be briefly reviewed along with key unanswered questions. Ideas are also presented which may shed light on observations of cellulose structure found in the literature and stimulate directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2011, ASABE 2011
PublisherAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Pages4739-4748
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781618391568
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
EventAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2011 - Louisville, KY, United States
Duration: Aug 7 2011Aug 10 2011

Publication series

NameAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2011, ASABE 2011
Volume6

Other

OtherAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2011
CountryUnited States
CityLouisville, KY
Period8/7/118/10/11

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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  • Cite this

    Catchmark, J. M. (2011). Cellulose: A mystery and a challenge for biomass energy conversion. In American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2011, ASABE 2011 (pp. 4739-4748). (American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2011, ASABE 2011; Vol. 6). American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.