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When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible. 

 

Peter Diamandis

Are GMO Trees Good for the Environment?

RATE THIS! +42
Posted in Science on 7th Apr, 2014 12:34 AM by AlexMuller

Researchers have genetically engineered poplar trees that they claim will clean up the notoriously messy paper industry. These genetically modified organisms are designed to be easier to break down in order to produce paper and biofuels than normal trees, meaning a conservation of chemicals and energy that scientists explain will be good for the environment.

 

The key is a molecule called lignin, a tough polymer found in the cell walls of most plants, which the researchers modified into a form that is much easier to break down.

 
Regular, non-genetically engineered wood requires an energy-intensive process that uses about 200 different chemicals to extract the lignin. Lignin composes about 20-25 percent of a tree, and lends trees their strength, which is why natural lignin is very difficult to break down. For the UBC researchers, the problem was to find a way to engineer lignin that could be easily broken down, without compromising the tree’s strength.
 
The solution was to insert genes for a chemical called ferulic acid, producing GMO trees with lignin that does not compromise their strength while they are growing, but which breaks down easily with a simple chemical treatment at 100 degrees Celsius.

Tags: treesGMOgeneticsgenetic engineeringenvironment

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-07
+4
My opinion is that these GM trees are good for the environment - it is time to accept that many genetic modifications are safe and helpful Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-07
+4
One very interesting thing is that the scientists also believe that their technique could be applied to other plants, enabling them to create new types of GMOs that could serve as alternative, renewable sources of fuel. This is very exciting! Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-07
+3
I think that there is a lot of concern about GM plants being introduced into the environment and effects that can have on surrounding plants and animals. In this case researchers identify ways of keeping the GMO poplar trees from cross-breeding with wild trees, including introducing genes for sterility, harvesting before the trees reach reproductive maturity, and planting GMO poplars away from wild stands.
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-07
+2
Hopefully, the attitude towards GMO plans will change. There is a rigourous, scientific evaluation in place and, by now, every major international scientific body has concluded that GMO crops are safe. Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-07
+2
The energy resources are the big issue and there are many attempts towards some solution. It was reported that researches found a catalyst, cobalt oxide nanoparticles, that can quickly generate hydrogen from water using sunlight, potentially creating a clean and renewable source of energy.
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-07
+1
The experiment has potential as a source of renewable fuel, but at a solar-to-hydrogen efficiency rate of around 5 percent, the conversion rate is still too low to be commercially viable. The same problem as with cellulose Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-07
+1
Despite all these problems I think this is very significant. This research discovered a new photocatalyst and demonstrated the potential of nanotechnology in engineering a material's property, although more work remains to be done. Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-06-23
+0
07/09/2012Amazing blog! Is your theme custom made or did you dwoalond it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your theme. With thanks Reply


 

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