New Uses for Lipids

Kent Chapman
Kent Chapman in his lab.

Kent Chapman, Regents Professor and director of UNT's BioDiscovery Institute, is questioning decades-old assumptions in plant biochemistry to find better ways of storing and using lipids, the energy molecules found in all plants.

Lipids are among the most energy-dense organic molecules on Earth and offer many advantages over fossil fuels. Chapman's work involves understanding the methods plants use to package and store lipids, which would allow scientists to manipulate plants to store lipids in any part of the organism.

Right now, lipids are generally concentrated in seeds and some fruits, with leaves and stems considered waste products. But if lipids could be stored in all parts of the plant, a farmer would suddenly have one super-efficient crop that can be used both as food and fuel.

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