LPLK10360U From Plants to Bioenergy

Volume 2018/2019

MSc Programme in Agriculture
MSc Programme in Biology-Biotechnology
MSc Programme in Forest and Nature Management
MSc Programme in Environmental Science


This international course is based on the premise that demands are set by EU and globally for utilization of bioenergy in transportation by converting lignocellulosic biomass into ethanol and other liquid energy carriers. There is a demand for candidates that have sufficient understanding of the molecular breeding and carbohydrate chemistry to develop technologies for this new direction in the roadmap of biofuel study and production. Topics covered are:

• Carbon and Nitrogen partitioning
• Cell wall components and their structure
• Molecular plant breeding strategies for biomass target traits
• Process enzymology
• Chemistry and physics of carbohydrates and lignocelluloses
• Conversion technologies for biomass to energy carriers
• Biomass crop production in temperate and tropical area

Learning Outcome

Learning Outcome
The course will provide the theoretical basis for understanding carbon and nitrogen sequestration in plants, the biosynthesis and structure of type I and type II plant cell walls, introduction to enzymes for plant polymer conversion and methods for processing and conversion of biomass into solid and liquid carriers. The principles of forward and reverse genetics will be provided and strategies for utilizing candidate genes in molecular breeding for plants with improve biomass conversion potential presented. The perspectives for biomass crop production in temperate and tropical areas will be discussed and put in a socio-economics and environmental context.

• Describe the structure and biochemistry of carbohydrates, cellulose, ligno-cellulose
• Give an overview of enzymes implicated in the biosynthesis of plant cell walls
• Describe molecular breeding towards altering biomass make-up
• Describe the function of hydrolytic enzymes important for plant polymer conversion
• Summarize processing and conversion of biomass to solid and liquid energy carriers

• Compare differences in cell wall structure and composition between plant species
• Apply reverse genetic tools to modify biomass composition
• Identify target genes encoding enzymes relevant for bioconversion
• Participate in academic discussions on sustainability of bioenergy production systems

• Assessment of C- and N- sequestration in different crop plants in response to growth condition
• Evaluate feasibility of forward and reverse genetics of improved biomass conversion
• Propose an ideal crop plant for bioenergy

Compendium of articles, laboratory notes and mongraphs. Further information will be available on Absalon.

A basic knowledge of agriculture and forestry production, breeding and biotechnology are required
Teaching methods Foundation lectures will give overview of plant genetics and genome structure. Lectures will be dedicated to biomass components, cell wall structures, lignocellulose, starch and carbohydrate chemistry. Exercises will build students skills of applying empirical and dynamic models on investigating the relations biomass conversion using prediction software. Self studies will build students capacity to review and identify the most important relations in dynamic and complex settings summarized and presented for the general reader following the Nature News in Science concept. Practicals will include carbohydrate-arrays and anatomy by microscopy survey of plant tissues. Excursions to industrial plants converting biomass and producers of converting enzymes. Group presentations and discussions will build competencies in terms of presenting and discussing on an academic level on complex issue.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Excursions
  • 20
  • Lectures
  • 74
  • Practical exercises
  • 20
  • Preparation
  • 60
  • Theory exercises
  • 32
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 4 hours under invigilation
Written examination.

The course has been selected for ITX exam on Peter Bangs Vej.
Exam registration requirements

Participation in 80% of teaching activity, which includes lectures, lab exercises, poster preparation and excursions.

All aids allowed

The University will make computers and power available to students taking written exams with invigilation in the University’s building on Peter Bangs Vej 36 (ITX). These students are therefore not permitted to bring their own computers, tablets or mobile phones. If textbooks and/or notes are permitted, according to the course description, these must be in paper format or on a USB flash drive.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship

As the ordinary exam.

If 10 or fewer register for the reexamination the examination form will be oral.

There cannot be dispensated for the requirement of laboratory exercises, and students who do not fulfil the requirement has to follow the course the following study year.

Criteria for exam assesment

See learning outcome