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Label-Free, Real-Time Monitoring of Biomass Processing with Stimulated Raman Scattering Microscopy


  • We thank G. R. Holtom and M. B. J. Roeffaers for helpful discussions. B.G.S. was supported by the Army Research Office through an NDSEG fellowship. C.W.F. was supported by a Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds Ph.D. fellowship. This work is also supported by the US Department of Energy: the instrumentation and data analysis is funded under grant DE-FG02-07ER64500, and the BioEnergy Science Center is a U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Center supported by the Office of Biological & Environmental Research in the DOE Office of Science; the delignification process is funded by the Office of the Biomass Program.


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Label-free “chemical movies” of lignin and cellulose in fresh plant tissue were recorded during a step in the breakdown of biomass to produce biofuels by using stimulated Raman scattering microscopy. The technique allows the degradation of lignin in the cell wall to be monitored with high sensitivity, sub-micrometer spatial resolution, and high temporal resolution.