Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation


UW Technologies Developed Through the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) is led by the University of Wisconsin–Madison, with Michigan State University as a major partner, and is one of three bioenergy research centers established in 2007 by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Member institutions include a DOE National Laboratory, universities and a biotechnology company.

GLBRC is working to meet the nation’s need for a comprehensive suite of clean energy technologies, including next generation and drop-in fuels that can be used in today’s engines. The GLBRC's research supports the development of a robust pipeline from biomass production through pretreatment and final conversion to fuel, with sustainability providing a unifying theme.

UW–Madison has a rich history of developing and commercializing innovative technologies that benefit the world, including sustainable technologies. From engines that emit fewer pollutants to "smart" grids that enable more efficient use of power to solar heating and cooling systems, for decades UW–Madison scientists have been inventing solutions to the energy challenge, including several biofuels technologies developed through the GLBRC.


One-Step Process to Generate Lignin-Derived Aromatics from Raw Biomass

Lignocellulosic biomass is a renewable energy source with great potential for generating value-added chemicals. One of the major components of biomass is lignin (15-25 percent). Due to its infamously...

A High-Efficacy CRISPRi System And Strong Synthetic Promoters For Alphaproteobacteria And Gammaproteobacteria


Electrochemical Reductive Coupling of Phenol Derivatives


Method To Solubilize Biomass Under Mild Conditions


Gene Duplications For Crabtree-Warburg-Like Aerobic Xylose Fermentation








Extending Juvenile Stage of Plants for Biofuels and Feedstock

Juvenile and adult grass tissue dramatically differs in anatomy, chemistry and ability to withstand stresses. Juvenile plants cannot flower and their leaves are better able to resist cold and drought....

Lignin from Transgenic Poplar Is Easier to Process

Lignin is an important plant cell wall component that provides structural support and vascular functions. It is one of the most abundant organic polymers on Earth, constituting about 30 percent of non...

Transgenic Lignin Easier to Break Down for Biofuel

Lignocellulosic biomass is a very desirable feedstock for biofuel production. If the fermentation process could be optimized, conversion of this biomass could yield 25 to 50 billion gallons of ethanol...

Modified Yeast Show Improved Xylose Fermentation and Toxin Tolerance

Bleaching plant material with alkaline hydrogen peroxide (AHP) is an old process used for papermaking. Several decades ago researchers suggested that this method also could be used in biofuel producti...

Producing Linear Alpha Olefins from Biomass

Linear alpha olefins (LAOs) are valuable commodity chemicals traditionally derived from petroleum. They are versatile building blocks for making a range of chemical products like polyethylene, synthet...

Powerful New Enzyme for Transforming Biomass

Converting plant cellulose and hemicellulose into fermentable sugars is a major bottleneck in the biofuel industry. Chemical pretreatment and enzyme hydrolysis (breakdown) usually are required.

Wisconsin-Sourced Lager Yeast

Beer can be divided into two broad categories: ales and lagers. Ales have been brewed for thousands of years. They are warm fermented (up to 80° F) for as little as three weeks using top-fermenting y...

Concentrated C5 and C6 Sugars from Biomass

Widespread production of sustainable fuels and chemicals will require cost-effective methods for breaking down biomass into its constituent sugars. Attaining high yields of concentrated C5 and C6 carb...

Improved Biomass Conversion with GVL Co-Solvent

Production of fuels and chemicals from biomass requires utilization of all biomass fractions, i.e., cellulose, hemi-cellulose and lignin. Thus, product molecules from all fractions of biomass must be ...

Microorganisms That Co-Consume Glucose With Non-Glucose Carbohydrates And Methods Of Use


High-Throughput Genome Editing and Engineering of Industrial Yeast, Other Fungi

As the industrial uses of yeast and other fungi expand, new systems are needed to genetically optimize strains for their intended use. In particular, the ability to manipulate prototrophic and diploid...

Bio-Based Production of Non-Straight-Chain and Oxygenated Fatty Acids for Fuels and More

Fatty acids generally can be classified as straight-chain or non-straight-chain. Non-straight-chain fatty acids are less abundant and highly valued in dietary supplements, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, ...

Modified E. coli for Enhanced Production of Pyruvate, Ethanol

Pyruvate is a starting material for synthesizing a variety of biofuels and chemicals. It can be readily converted into more than 60 commercial chemicals, including ethanol and several active pharmaceu...

Modified Yeast with Enhanced Tolerance for GVL Biomass Solvent

Gamma-valerolactone (GVL) is an inexpensive solvent derived from biomass that can be used to break apart tough lignocellulose into fermentable sugars including xylose and glucose. GVL-based techniques...

Zip-Lignin™ Assay: An Analysis and Validation Tool

To produce pulp from wood, harsh chemicals are applied during cooking and bleaching mainly because lignin is tough to break down. To make it easier to degrade, Wisconsin researchers discovered how che...

Nitroxyl-Mediated Oxidation Of Lignin And Polycarboxylated Products


Industrial Streptomyces with Capability to Grow on Cheap and Abundant Cellulose

Many species of Streptomyces are used industrially in the production of medicines, proteins and other fine commodity chemicals. However, the vast majority must be grown on high-cost glucose fee...

Natural Antibiotic to Treat Clostridium Infection and More

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is an escalating problem, especially in hospital settings. The Centers for Disease Control recently identified Clostridium difficile as posing an “urgent...

Improved S. Cerevisiae Strains for Anaerobic Xylose Fermentation and High Stress Tolerance

Worldwide renewable energy sources are in high demand due to climate change combined with rapid depletion of fossil fuel reserves. Bioethanol remains the most attractive choice as an alternative to co...

Recombinant High-Lipid Microbe for Bioproduct & Biofuel Production

Lipids derived from microorganisms, including bacteria, yeast and microalgae, offer a promising source of renewable fuels and chemicals. Oleaginous microbes – defined as those accumulating more than...

Non-GMO Maltotriose-Consuming Strains of Saccharomyces eubayanus

Saccharomyces eubayanus is the cold-tolerant parent yeast of the lager brewing yeast Saccharomyces pastorianus. In recent years there has been considerable interest in brewing with pure ...

Feruloyl-Coa: Monolignol Transferases


‘Green’ Tylenol: Synthesizing Acetaminophen from Renewable Biomass

Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is an analgesic and fever-reducing medicine. It is an active ingredient in many widely sold over-the-counter medicines such as Tylenol and Panadol. As a prescription pharma...

P-Coumaroyl-Coa:Monolignol Transferases


High Yield Method to Produce HMF from Fructose

The platform molecule 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), produced from the dehydration of C6 sugars (hexoses), is considered to be one of the top value-added chemicals. The efficient production of HMF fro...

Enzymatic Depolymerization of Lignin

Lignin is a renewable resource that accounts for up to 30 percent of the dry weight of vascular plant cell walls. It is comprised of aromatic compounds that may be valuable commodities for the biofuel...

Cell-Free System for Combinatorial Discovery of Enzymes Capable of Transforming Biomass for Biofuels

Biofuels produced from biomass provide a promising alternative to fossil fuels.  Biomass is an inexpensive, readily available and renewable resource.  However, the process of converting biomass into...

High-Yielding Method for Converting Biomass to Fermentable Sugars for Biofuel Production

Lignocellulosic biomass is a very desirable feedstock for biofuel production.  If the fermentation process for lignocellulose could be optimized, conversion of this biomass could yield 25 to 50 billi...

Translation-Coupling Cassette for Quickly and Reliably Monitoring Protein Translation in Host Cells

Bacterial production of recombinant proteins is used commonly by researchers and commercial entities to manufacture a large variety of proteins. However, many proteins are not produced efficiently in ...

Fatty Acid-Producing Microbes for Generating Medium- and Long-Chain Hydrocarbons

New, renewable sources of transportation fuel are needed to meet continuing demand. While the main focus has been on biomass-derived gasoline alternatives such as ethanol and other short-chain alcohol...

Ethanol Tolerant Yeast for Improved Production of Ethanol from Biomass

Ethanol production from cellulosic biomass can make a significant contribution toward decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels.  However, the fermentation of biomass can be problematic.  One bottle...

Bacteria Modified to Secrete Biologically Active Protein for Large-Scale Production

E. coli is the most common prokaryote used to produce protein.  The expressed protein generally accumulates in the cytoplasm.  While this approach is useful for some proteins, not all prote...

Salt-Enhanced Production Of Gamma-Valerolactone (Gvl) From Aqueous Solutions Of Levulinic And Formic Acids


Polypeptide And Yeast Cell Compositions And Methods Of Using The Same


Microbiomes And Methods For Producing Medium-Chain Fatty Acids From Organic Substrates


Method To Liquefy Biomass


One- and Two-Phase Conversion of Biomass to Furfural

Exploiting the energy potential of biomass high in cellulose and lignin—including grasses, shrubs, husks, bark, yard and mill offal not readily digestible by humans—offers a vast and renewable alt...

Modified Yeast Ferments Biomass Xylose

Producing biofuel on a useful scale requires efficient fermentation of cellulosic plant material. The sugars glucose and xylose are the most abundant carbohydrates found in hemicellulose. The yeast mo...

Genes for Xylose Fermentation, Enhanced Biofuel Production in Yeast

Efficient fermentation of cellulosic feedstocks is an essential step in the production of biofuel from plant materials. Glucose and xylose are the two most abundant monomeric carbohydrates found in he...

More Efficient Ethanol Production from Mixed Sugars Using Spathaspora Yeast

Ethanol obtained from the fermentation of grains and sugars is being blended with gasoline to bolster dwindling petroleum supplies. The alcohol increases combustion efficiency and octane value, and ca...

Mild, Nontoxic Production of Fuels and Chemicals from Biomass

Fossil fuel resources supply almost 90 percent of the world’s energy and the vast majority of its organic chemicals. This dependency is insupportable in light of rising emissions, demand and diminis...

Better Biomass Conversion with Recyclable GVL Solvent

To recover useful carbohydrates locked in biomass, molecular bonds must be broken while avoiding further reaction of the resulting glucose and xylose sugars. This is a challenge because glucose can de...

Enhanced Biomass Digestion with Wood Wasp Bacteria

Plant biomass represents a vast and renewable source of energy. However, harnessing this energy requires breaking down tough lignin and cellulose cell walls. In nature, certain microbes can deconstruc...

Selective Conversion of Lignin into Simple Aromatic Compounds

Lignin is a major component of non-edible biomass (15-30 percent by weight; 40 percent by energy). It is a cheap byproduct of pulp and biofuel production and is one of the few naturally occurring sour...

Modified Microbes Tolerate 50-Fold More Organic Acid

Production of industrial chemicals has long relied on petroleum-based starting material. As reserves of fossil carbon dwindle, a new approach is looking to microorganisms and their ability to convert ...

Microorganisms For Producing Organic Acids


Microorganisms For Producing Organic Acids


Gene Controls Flowering Time in Corn

Plant development is marked by three phases: juvenile, adult vegetative and flowering. The timing between phases is known to impact traits like yield, productivity and tissue digestibility. However, t...

Grass Modified for Easier Bioprocessing

Manufacturing paper and producing biofuels is difficult because the lignin in plant cell walls is tough to degrade. Current techniques are energy intensive and use harsh chemicals. In the case of biof...

Two-Step Process Converts Lignin into Simple Aromatic Compounds

Lignin is a major component of non-edible biomass. It is a cheap byproduct of pulp and biofuel production and is one of the few naturally occurring sources of valuable aromatic compounds. Converting l...

Microbes Produce High Yields of Fatty Alcohols from Glucose

Fatty alcohols are used in detergents, emulsifiers, lubricants and personal care items. More than 1.3 million tons of fatty alcohols are used worldwide each year, representing a $3 billion market.

High Yield Method to Produce LGO from Biomass

Levoglucosenone (LGO) is a highly dehydrated sugar typically derived from cellulose. It is an important, non-petroleum building block chemical with potential uses in a wide range of industrial process...

Modified Yeast to Boost Biofuel Yields

Producing biofuel on an industrial scale requires efficient fermentation of cellulosic plant material. Glucose and xylose are two of the most abundant sugars found in biomass. The yeast most commonly ...

Polycarboxylated Compounds And Compositions Containing Same


Recombinant Yeast Having Increased Tolerance To Ionic Liquids And Methods Of Use


Methods Of Processing Aromatic Compounds


Maize Doubled Haploid and Recombinant Inbred Line Populations


Method Of Selectively Oxidizing Lignin


Yeast Strains With Selected Or Altered Mitotypes And Methods Of Making And Using The Same


BAHD Acyltransferases


A Ratiometric Biosensor To Measure Intracellular Nadh/Nad+ Redox


Microorganisms And Methods For Producing 2-Pyrone-4,6-Dicarboxylic Acid And Other Compounds