Jonathan R. Mielenz,
Miguel Rodriguez, Jr., and Choo Hamilton received a team-level Significant Event Award for their work on the “Genetic manipulation of lignin reduces recalcitrance and improves ethanol production from switchgrass” in the first half of 2011. Their work was highlighted in the February PNAS paper by the same name. Read their paper online at www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1100310108. In the paper, the researchers describe their transgenic version of switchgrass as one that produces about one-third more ethanol by fermentation than conventional switchgrass. This improved plant feedstock will be able to generate more biofuel per acre, benefiting not only the transportation sector but also the growers and farming community.