Dr Jessica Adams
Microbiologist/Fermentation Scientist, Environmental Impact (EI)
Phone: 01970 823152
Climate change, fuel security and economics are driving the use of renewable technologies. All technologies may be used to generate electricity or heat either directly or indirectly, but only biomass is capable of producing liquid fuels for use as a transport fuel. To fulfil the renewable transport fuel obligation, 5% of transport fuels in the UK must be from renewable sources by 2012, increasing demand for bioethanol and biodiesel from a range of sources. Most of these sources come into direct conflict with food production. Marine biomass is currently an under-exploited resource with the potential to produce large amounts of biofuel without adversely affecting our food supplies.
My work to date has been demonstrating the importance of seasonal variation in the composition of the macroalgae species Laminaria digitata and the effect of this on biofuel production. Bio-oil, -ethanol and –methane have been produced in addition to chemical composition analysis (see Adams et al., 2011 and Adams et al., in press in Bioresource Technology).
Future work will be within the BEACON project (see projects page) and will consider the extraction of high value compounds from macroalgae prior to the production of biofuels from the residues.
Within the ISPG programme I am involved in the saccharification and fermentation of genetically variable Miscanthus material taken from collections and the Miscanthus breeding programme.
North Ronaldsay sheep
In April 2008 I travelled to North Ronaldsay, the most northerly of the Orkney islands, to collect faecal material from the North Ronaldsay sheep that live there. These are a primitive breed of sheep which are kept on the beaches around the island by a high dyke or wall. Because of their location they feed almost exclusively on macroalgae washed up on the shores of the island, so have different microorganisms in the rumen compared with grass-fed sheep. Because of practical and cost considerations, I sampled faecal material from the sheep and transported in back to Aberystwyth for culturing and further analysis. The isolation and identification of novel micro-organisms from these samples may be of use in future fermentations or as a source of enzymes for macroalgae degradation.
I have a 2.1 in Medical Microbiology (Hons.) from the University of Edinburgh and a CASE PhD awarded in 2008 in Microbial biotechnology from the University of Manchester. In November 2007 I began a post-doctorate researcher position funded by SUPERGEN –Bioenergy (EPSRC) working on the fermentation of selected seaweeds to produce bioethanol at IGER Aberystwyth (subsequently merged to IBERS, Aberystwyth University). From March 2009 I have been employed under the ISPG (BBSRC) at IBERS, Aberystwyth University working on the saccharification and fermentation of Miscanthus and other biomass crops and since December 2010 have spent part of my time on BEACON (ERDF) on macroalgae, novel micro-organisms and products from apple pomace.
Metaphylogenomic and Potential Functionality of the Limpet Patella pellucida’s Gastrointestinal Tract Microbiome. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 15 (10) pp. 18819-18839. 10.3390/ijms1510188192014.
Scanning electron microscopy and fermentation studies on selected known maize starch mutants using STARGEN™ enzyme blends. BioEnergy Research 5 (2) pp. 330-340. 10.1007/s12155-011-9135-52012.
Seasonal variation in the chemical composition of the bioenergy feedstock Laminaria digitata for thermochemical conversion. Bioresource Technology 102 (1) pp. 226-234. 10.1016/j.biortech.2010.06.152 Cadair2011.
Functional genomics of forage and bioenergy quality traits in the grasses. In T. Yamada, G. Spangenberg (eds), Molecular Breeding of Forage Turf: Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on the Molecular Breeding of Forage Turf. 5th International Symposium on the Molecular Breeding of Forage and Turf, Sapporo, Japan, 02/07/2007 - 06/07/2007., pp. 111-123. Cadair Other2009.
Fermentation study on Saccharina latissima for bioethanol production considering variable pre-treatments. Journal of Applied Phycology 21 (5) 3rd Congress of the International Society for Applied Phycology and the 11th International Conference on Applied Phycology, Galway, Ireland, 21/06/2008 - 27/06/2008. pp. 569-574. 10.1007/s10811-008-9384-7 Cadair2009.