Plant-Derived Terpenes: A Feedstock for Specialty Biofuels

Ritesh Mewalal, Durgesh K. Rai, David Kainer, Feng Chen, Carsten Külheim, Gary F. Peter, Gerald A. Tuskan*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    128 Citations (Scopus)


    Research toward renewable and sustainable energy has identified specific terpenes capable of supplementing or replacing current petroleum-derived fuels. Despite being naturally produced and stored by many plants, there are few examples of commercial recovery of terpenes from plants because of low yields. Plant terpene biosynthesis is regulated at multiple levels, leading to wide variability in terpene content and chemistry. Advances in the plant molecular toolkit, including annotated genomes, high-throughput omics profiling, and genome editing, have begun to elucidate plant terpene metabolism, and such information is useful for bioengineering metabolic pathways for specific terpenes. We review here the status of terpenes as a specialty biofuel and discuss the potential of plants as a viable agronomic solution for future terpene-derived biofuels.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)227-240
    Number of pages14
    JournalTrends in Biotechnology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


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