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Did you know that the domesticated cow contains one of the most efficient natural systems for breaking down plant sugars? The cud-chewing ruminant harbors special microbial communities that are especially adept at degrading the sugars found in plant cell walls. Assistant professor of bacteriology, Garret Suen( Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison), uses the ruminant as a model system for studying how these symbiotic microbes deconstruct biomass, exploring the ways in which these highly efficient, cellulose-degrading communities might be applied to the production of biofuels. Could ruminant digestion efficiency help teach us how to make biofuels in a less energy-intensive way?

Suen will present “From Cows to Cars: What Ruminant Digestion Can Teach Biofuel Production” as part of the Institute’s Sustainable Energy Seminar Series: Exploring Solutions Small and Large at 4 pm on Monday, October 20 in room 1115 of the Wisconsin Energy Institute. Come move forward in energy with us!