A team from the University has plans to develop a plant to produce substances with direct application as a biofuel by using the plant’s metabolic pathways.

Purdue University biochemistry professor and the grant’s principal investigator Clint Chapple remarked that currently researchers were focussed on using sugars to be fermented into fuel.

"We want to take advantage of a plant’s metabolic pathways to make biofuel directly," said Chapple.

The new process reroutes phenylalanine that a plant utilizes to make lignin and converts it to phenylethanol, a combustible biofuel that could then be blended with gasoline.

Purdue President Timothy Sands added, "Addressing our world’s energy needs will take multiple solutions, and Purdue researchers have long been a part of significant developments in this field."

The team would experiment with Arabidopsis before applying the technology to working on a poplar trees or switchgrass.