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Recent Advances in Biomass Conversion, Renewable Energy, and Biomaterials

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sustainability and Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2024 | Viewed by 8344

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Biotechnology, Jiangsu University of Science and Technology, Zhenjiang 212100, China
Interests: agricultural and forestry waste processing; biocatalysis and biotransformation; bioactive product engineering; chemical and biological conversion of biomass; renewable energy
Department of Chemical Engineering, Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada
Interests: peptide design and biointerfaces; peptides for drug delivery; microfluidic device development; nano-functional materials; food science and biomedicine
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The applications of biomass-derived materials and renewable energy are currently flourishing in biomass conversion due to their versatile properties and wide potential applications in environmental sustainability. The process of biomass conversion aids in converting agricultural and natural resources into valuable products. This process promotes the practical discovery of products for incorporation in biomaterials while alleviating environmental pollution caused by the indiscriminate disposal of by-products. Recently, tenable techniques and modification technologies, including microwave assistance, ultrasonic treatments, and microfluidic assistance, are available for the successful enhancement of agricultural by-product conversion. Notably, the development of techniques is a crucial contribution to sustainability, accompanied by a decline in the adverse environmental impact. This Special Issue seeks to provide an overview of current developments in the manageable preparation and prospective uses of biomass-derived materials, discovering new strategies for the creation of novel biomaterials employing affordable, low-impact, fast, and scalable industrial processes. The collections will provide researchers from businesses and academic institutions with a one-of-a-kind forum to discuss their theories and findings and forge connections that lead to the widespread use of biomaterials.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews dealing with agricultural and natural resource utilization via chemical and biological conversion approaches are welcome. Research areas include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Agricultural sustainability and management;
  • Bioactive products;
  • Biomass conversion and refinery process;
  • Bio-renewable materials;
  • Biomass-derived renewable energy;
  • Biomaterials as support platforms for renewable energy production;
  • Biomaterials for sustainability;
  • Biofuels process;
  • Biotechnologies applied for renewable energies;
  • Chemical and biological conversions;
  • Industrial agricultural and forestry products;
  • Industrial application of biorefinery;
  • Precision agriculture for sustainability;
  • Systems and technologies for improving biomass conversion.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Jun Wang
Dr. Lei Zhang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • agricultural and forestry waste processing
  • bioactive materials
  • biomass degradation
  • biomass refinery
  • biofuels processes
  • biomaterials
  • bioresource technology
  • biotechnologies applied for renewable energies
  • biotransformation
  • chemical and biological conversions
  • renewable energy
  • sustainable processing
  • biomaterials for sustainability

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 7266 KiB  
Article
Enhanced H2 Generation via Piezoelectric Reforming of Waste Sugars and Fruits Using Au-Decorated g-C3N4
by Ke Ren, Fangjie Ding, Lijun Zhang, Fengping Peng, Jianzhong Guo and Chunzheng Wu
Sustainability 2024, 16(10), 4231; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16104231 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 269
Abstract
The food industry is responsible for generating considerable amounts of waste, such as excess fruits and leftover sugars, which contribute to resource depletion and pose environmental challenges. This research delves into the application of gold-modified graphitic carbon nitride nanosheets (Au/CN) as a potent [...] Read more.
The food industry is responsible for generating considerable amounts of waste, such as excess fruits and leftover sugars, which contribute to resource depletion and pose environmental challenges. This research delves into the application of gold-modified graphitic carbon nitride nanosheets (Au/CN) as a potent catalyst for the transformation of these food wastes into H2 via piezoelectric reforming during sonication. Au/CN demonstrated a superior rate of H2 evolution compared to pristine g-C3N4 (i.e., 1533.3 vs. 364.9 µmol/g/h) and it maintained its efficiency through multiple cycles of use. The catalytic activity was found to be optimal at a neutral pH level and with increased sugar concentrations. The enhanced catalytic performance of Au/CN was ascribed to the efficient segregation of charge carriers as well as the reduced charge transfer distance. This study underscores the viability of using Au/CN as a means for converting food wastes into a sustainable source of H2 energy. Full article
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12 pages, 296 KiB  
Article
Foliar Supplementation of Recycled Phosphorus from Cattle Bone Meal Improves Soybean Growth Characteristics, Nutrient Content, and Chlorophyll Pigment Concentration
by Diego Alejandro Nieto-Monteros, Rafaela de Oliveira Penha and Carlos Ricardo Soccol
Sustainability 2023, 15(8), 6582; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15086582 - 13 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1419
Abstract
Plants can absorb only 30 to 40% of nutrients from the soil through the root system because the absorption process depends on soil properties, wheatear conditions, and the plant’s species. Therefore, foliar fertilization using macro- and micronutrients has proven to be an excellent [...] Read more.
Plants can absorb only 30 to 40% of nutrients from the soil through the root system because the absorption process depends on soil properties, wheatear conditions, and the plant’s species. Therefore, foliar fertilization using macro- and micronutrients has proven to be an excellent alternative. Herein, we evaluated the foliar application of a neutralized sulfuric bone meal hydrolysate (NSBMH) on soybean growth parameters, pod yield, nitrogen, phosphorus, and chlorophyll pigment concentrations under greenhouse conditions. A complete randomized block design was performed, and each block contained three treatments: 1% NSBMH, commercial fertilizer, and negative control. After 90 days of growth, soybean plants foliar-sprayed with 1% NSBMH improved significantly (p < 0.05) in terms of foliar area, plant fresh mass, plant dried mass, plant height, nitrogen, and chlorophyll a + b concentrations, while trifoliar leaf number, pod number, and pod fresh and dried masses were higher but not significant, and phosphorus concentration maintained suitable levels when compared to the negative control treatment. Additionally, the 1% NSBMH group presented similar and higher values, but not significant (p > 0.05), on the evaluated traits versus the commercial fertilizer treatment. Consequently, cattle bone recycling for the obtainment of alternative phosphorus as neutralized sulfuric bone meal hydrolysate is an excellent choice because it encourages the reutilization of anthropogenic waste, such as cattle bone waste, which protects the environment and reduces the soil and foliar application of mineral phosphoric fertilizers and reduces dependency on the main unsustainable fertilizer suppliers. Full article
17 pages, 4517 KiB  
Article
A Hierarchical Porous Cellulose Sponge Modified with Chlorogenic Acid as a Antibacterial Material for Water Disinfection
by En-Jiang Liu, Jia-Xing Huang, Run-Ze Hu, Xiao-Hui Yao, Wei-Guo Zhao, Dong-Yang Zhang and Tao Chen
Sustainability 2023, 15(1), 773; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15010773 - 31 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1751
Abstract
Water contaminated by microorganisms will seriously endanger public safety, as many diseases are caused by microorganisms, and water disinfection materials offer an effective method to solve this problem. In this work, a hierarchical porous structure cellulose sponge (CS) was constructed as the water [...] Read more.
Water contaminated by microorganisms will seriously endanger public safety, as many diseases are caused by microorganisms, and water disinfection materials offer an effective method to solve this problem. In this work, a hierarchical porous structure cellulose sponge (CS) was constructed as the water disinfection filter substrate, where “long−chain” cellulose served as the skeleton to construct major pores, and “short−chain” cellulose filled the gaps between “long−chain” cellulose to construct minor pores. After CS was covalently modified by chlorogenic acid (CGA) to fabricate cellulose–chlorogenic acid sponge (C−CGAS), a hierarchical porous structure was retained. Due to the hierarchical porous structure, C−CGAS showed good mechanical stability (2.84% unrecoverable strain after 1000 compression cycles). Furthermore, C−CGAS also showed good antibacterial and antifungal abilities due to the antimicrobial ability and high water flux, and C−CGAS could eliminate 95% of E. coli within 0.5 h in the water disinfection test. Due to the stable covalent modification of CGA and its mechanical stability, C−CGAS showed no breakage, and even after nine consecutive use cycles, the antibacterial properties were almost unchanged. Thus, C−CGAS is a reusable and highly efficient water disinfection material. This study provides a new approach for the preparation of recyclable, safe, and efficient water disinfection materials. Full article
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12 pages, 2071 KiB  
Article
Antibacterial Activity of Ferulic Acid Ester against Ralstonia solanacearum and Its Synergy with Essential Oils
by Qing-Bo Tu, Hui-Cong Shi, Ping Li, Sheng Sheng and Fu-An Wu
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16348; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416348 - 7 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1646
Abstract
Ralstonia solanacearum is one of the ten most harmful plant bacteria worldwide, and traditional agrochemicals are not very effective in controlling this pathogen. Moreover, excessive pesticides always bring organic residues and resistant strains, which cause the unsustainability of the environment. In this paper, [...] Read more.
Ralstonia solanacearum is one of the ten most harmful plant bacteria worldwide, and traditional agrochemicals are not very effective in controlling this pathogen. Moreover, excessive pesticides always bring organic residues and resistant strains, which cause the unsustainability of the environment. In this paper, ferulic acid and essential oils are used as antibacterial materials. These compounds are natural substances with low toxicity and environmental safety. Through the structural optimization and the analysis of binary combined bacteriostatic efficiency, the MIC values of chlorobutyl ferulate (2e) and peppermint essential oil (EO1) were 0.64 mg/mL and 2.02 mg/mL, respectively, and the MIC value of 2e-EO1 (mass ratio 1:1.5) was 0.40 mg/mL. The growth rate of bacteria treated with 2e-EO1 was inhibited, the OD590nm value of cell membrane decreased by 57.83%, and the expression levels of hrpB, pehC, pilT, polA, aceE, egl, and phcA were downregulated to 18.81%, 30.50%, 14.00%, 44.90%, 86.79%, 23.90%, and 27.56%, respectively. The results showed that 2e-EO1 had a synergistic inhibitory effect against R. solanacearum. It significantly affected the formation of the bacterial cell membrane and the expression of pathogenic genes. Consequently, 2e-EO1 provides the potential to become a green pesticide and can promote the sustainability of the agricultural ecological environment. Full article
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Review

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34 pages, 7490 KiB  
Review
Novel Applications of Silk Proteins Based on Their Interactions with Metal Ions
by Qingmei Wen, Lei Zhang, Yilu Chen, Yi Su, Jingmou Yu, Pu Chen and Tao Zheng
Sustainability 2023, 15(22), 16053; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152216053 - 17 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1613
Abstract
Silk secreted by Bombyx mori L. silkworm has become one of the most important biomaterials, due to its excellent biocompatibility, controllable biodegradability, superior processability, and unique mechanical properties. Silk fibroin and sericin, as the two components of silk, contain abundant polar functional groups, [...] Read more.
Silk secreted by Bombyx mori L. silkworm has become one of the most important biomaterials, due to its excellent biocompatibility, controllable biodegradability, superior processability, and unique mechanical properties. Silk fibroin and sericin, as the two components of silk, contain abundant polar functional groups, and thus can bind metal ions through electrostatic interaction and chelation. Based on this binding, silk proteins not only can be used to fabricate ecofriendly and efficient adsorbents to remove heavy metals from waterbodies, but also can synthesize metal nanostructures (nanoparticles or nanoclusters) to form silk/metal composites with amazing optical or electrochemical characteristics. This binding also can be manipulated to optimize silk’s performance. This review focuses on discussing and summarizing advances in the use of silk fibroin and sericin for heavy metal ion-contaminated water remediation, biosensing materials, and electrochemical materials from the perspective of the interaction between silk proteins and metal ions. The performance enhancement of silk using metal ions is also analyzed. Moreover, the silk proteins’ interactions with metal ions and related structural features that contribute to the above sustainable applications are illustrated to lay a theoretical foundation. This review will favor the expansion of the applications of silk in both the traditional textile field and new biomaterials. Full article
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