For years now we have been advised to re-cycle and re-use our products whenever we can, and it’s a good thing isn’t it? We all want to live in a sustainable world and be able to pass on to our children a better environment for their future.
The environmental sciences are advancing and in the field of wood science they have recently announced an exciting breakthrough in tree research. Researchers have come up with a way to make more environmentally friendly paper. They have accomplished this by genetically modifying trees and it is not just the resulting paper industry that will benefit from this process.
The collaboration between researchers across North America focused on manipulating lignin, a polymer that makes up a considerable portion of the cell walls of the majority of plants and it is essential to be removed in order to make wood and bio fuel. The process can take a great amount of chemicals to remove it. By genetically modifying the lignin so that it is easier to break down, the researchers were able to simplify the process.
Wood Scientist Shawn Mansfield from the University of British Columbia said, “We’re designing trees to be processed with less energy and fewer chemicals, and ultimately recovering more wood carbohydrate than is currently possible.”
If you think beyond the idea of more environmentally friendly paper, the discovery becomes even more stimulating. Think about this; If it is easier to make biofuel, more people will use that kind of fuel and therefore pollution will be reduced.
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[Image via isidewith]