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Plant-Based Products

CAHNRS scientists research the synthesis and analysis of plant components for the development and utilization of bio-based, sustainable products.

Synthesis: CAHNRS scientists have strong research programs in plant biochemistry and molecular biology, focused on primary and secondary metabolism and structural components.

  • Laura Bartley, synthesis and regulation of grass cell walls
  • Phil Bates, plant lipid metabolism
  • John Browse, biosynthesis and function of membrane and seed-storage lipids
  • David Gang, biosynthesis of bioactive compounds from medicinal plants
  • Mark Lange, biosynthesis of terpenoid natural products in medicinal plants
  • Norm Lewis, phenylpropanoid metabolites
  • Thomas Okita, protein and starch synthesis
  • Sanja Roje, folates, flavins, and phosphatases

Analysis: CAHNRS laboratories offer analytical capabilities for metabolomic, chemical, and structural analysis of synthesis products.

Modification & Utilization: CAHNRS scientists study genetic engineering capabilities for oils and structural components like lignin

  • Laura Bartley, switchgrass selection and engineering for development as a biofuel crop
  • Phil Bates, engineering plant oils for increased nutrition, chemical feedstocks, and biofuels
  • Paul Hwang,┬ámetabolic engineering of starch for enhanced productivity and yield
  • Florence Mus, engineering synthetic symbioses between plants and bacteria to deliver nitrogen to crops
  • Thomas Okita, metabolic genetic engineering of plants for increased productivity

Engineering: conversion of abundant lipid, carbohydrate, and lignin plant components into more valuable products

  • Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites, an NSF Industry & University Cooperative Research Center that develops high-value biobased products from forestry and agricultural feedstocks
  • Composite Materials & Engineering Center, an interdisciplinary research organization focused on developing new building materials and manufacturing technologies from recycled and renewable resources
  • Birgitte Ahring, biomass conversion to biofuels and high-value bioproducts using microbial biocatalysts
  • Shulin Chen, bioconversion processes and systems for the production of biofuel, bioenergy, biochemicals, and nutraceuticals
  • Armine Ghalachyan, sustainable textiles using renewable bacterial cellulose fiber
  • Hanwu Lei, biofuels and bioproducts development, renewable energy technologies, and cost-effective biomass conversion technologies
  • Hang Liu, nanofiber production and application in smart-sensing textiles
  • Shyam Sablani, food packaging and processing research using materials science
  • Bin Yang, biofuels production from cellulosic biomass feedstocks