The need for a renewable and affordable source of carbon that can sustain future economic development without negatively impacting the environment is now widely recognised. It is also apparent that the increasingly high demand for fossil carbon will eventually deplete existing stocks.
The Plant Journal is pleased to present a series of invited peer-reviewed articles that describe processes that plants can or could use to convert their fixed carbon into fuels and other useful products. The articles were commissioned to provide an authoritative scientific backdrop to inform discussion in debates on finding alternative and reliable sources of carbon.
Co-edited by Christoph Benning from Michigan State University and Eran Pichersky from the University of Michigan, this special issue is freely available to download online here: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/tpj/54/4
The Special Issue is also accompanied by a podcast - an interview with Christoph Benning, Co-Editor and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology - available to download here: http://www.gabcast.com/casts/1696/episodes/1210588423.mp3, and an editorial, which is available to view here: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03512.x
The 17 articles in this special issue cover topics related to the production of biofuel from plant or algal biomass. In addition, several articles highlight the usefulness of plant s for the production of pharmaceutical drugs and other high value chemicals and polymers.
Smith reports on how increases in yield of starch and sugars could lead to a sustainable production of bioethanol as a liquid transport fuel.