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Challenges of Biomass Utilization for Bioenergy in a Climate Change Scenario

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Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto (FMRP), University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto 14049-900, São Paulo, Brazil
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Department of Chemistry, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP), University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto 14040-901, São Paulo, Brazil
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Department of Biology, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP), University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto 14040-901, São Paulo, Brazil
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Centre of Biological Engineering (CEB), Gualtar Campus, University of Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: John Korstad
Biology 2021, 10(12), 1277; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10121277
Received: 11 November 2021 / Revised: 29 November 2021 / Accepted: 29 November 2021 / Published: 6 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Climate Change Biology)
The most recent intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC 2021) has shown that the human influence on climate change has been unprecedented, predicting a global temperature increase of 1.5 °C in the earlies 2030s. The burning of fossil fuels has increased the emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), and carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere, amplifying the greenhouse effect in the last decades. In this scenario, the use of biorefineries, a renewable analog to petroleum refineries, has attracted a lot of attention since they use renewable sources as lignocellulosic feedstocks. However, climate change alters the temperature, rainfall patterns, drought, CO2 levels, and air moisture impacting biomass growth, productivity, chemical composition, and soil microbial community. Here, we discuss strategies to produce fuels and value-added products from biomass in a climate change scenario, potential feedstocks for bioenergy purposes, the chemical composition of lignocellulosic biomass, enzymes involved in biomass deconstruction, and other processes related to biomass production, processing, and conversion. Understanding these integrated factors involved in bioenergy production with plant responses to climate change shows that climate-smart agriculture is the only way to lower the negative impact of climate changes on crop adaptation and its use for bioenergy.
The climate changes expected for the next decades will expose plants to increasing occurrences of combined abiotic stresses, including drought, higher temperatures, and elevated CO2 atmospheric concentrations. These abiotic stresses have significant consequences on photosynthesis and other plants’ physiological processes and can lead to tolerance mechanisms that impact metabolism dynamics and limit plant productivity. Furthermore, due to the high carbohydrate content on the cell wall, plants represent a an essential source of lignocellulosic biomass for biofuels production. Thus, it is necessary to estimate their potential as feedstock for renewable energy production in future climate conditions since the synthesis of cell wall components seems to be affected by abiotic stresses. This review provides a brief overview of plant responses and the tolerance mechanisms applied in climate change scenarios that could impact its use as lignocellulosic biomass for bioenergy purposes. Important steps of biofuel production, which might influence the effects of climate change, besides biomass pretreatments and enzymatic biochemical conversions, are also discussed. We believe that this study may improve our understanding of the plant biological adaptations to combined abiotic stress and assist in the decision-making for selecting key agronomic crops that can be efficiently adapted to climate changes and applied in bioenergy production. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; abiotic stress; cell wall remodeling; pretreatment; dedicated energy crop; biofuels climate change; abiotic stress; cell wall remodeling; pretreatment; dedicated energy crop; biofuels
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MDPI and ACS Style

Freitas, E.N.d.; Salgado, J.C.S.; Alnoch, R.C.; Contato, A.G.; Habermann, E.; Michelin, M.; Martínez, C.A.; Polizeli, M.d.L.T.M. Challenges of Biomass Utilization for Bioenergy in a Climate Change Scenario. Biology 2021, 10, 1277. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10121277

AMA Style

Freitas ENd, Salgado JCS, Alnoch RC, Contato AG, Habermann E, Michelin M, Martínez CA, Polizeli MdLTM. Challenges of Biomass Utilization for Bioenergy in a Climate Change Scenario. Biology. 2021; 10(12):1277. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10121277

Chicago/Turabian Style

Freitas, Emanuelle N.d., José C.S. Salgado, Robson C. Alnoch, Alex G. Contato, Eduardo Habermann, Michele Michelin, Carlos A. Martínez, and Maria d.L.T.M. Polizeli. 2021. "Challenges of Biomass Utilization for Bioenergy in a Climate Change Scenario" Biology 10, no. 12: 1277. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10121277

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