Major Megan Newman

P:  (540) 464-7254
F:  (540) 464-7047

Undergraduate Research
Virginia Military Institute
Lexington, Virginia  24450

Wetmore Sample Application

Wetmore Application for Funding for Research

(email form to for consideration)





Faculty Mentor:

Project Description:

Locating a Low Lignin Glycine max Cultivar

The purpose of this project is to find and isolate the ideal cultivar of Glycine max (soybean plant) for producing biodiesel from stem residues. The ideal cultivar would contain a low concentration of lignin, in stem residues, while at the same time containing high concentrations of cellulose and hemicellulose. To determine the amount of lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose in the cultivars, specific stem and branch samples from each of five cultivars need to be ground into a powder. Following grinding, each sample is placed into an acid bath to extract cellulose sugars and lignin monomers from the plant powder. In order to achieve proper results in the acid bath the powder samples need to be placed into pressure tubes that can withstand being heated and pressurized in an autoclave. Research will be conducted every Monday afternoon, as part of my independent research course, working with (name of faculty advisor). I will assess my project analyzing the chemicals and including a graph of the results in a written report to be submitted to my advisor at the end of the fall semester.

Budget and explanation:

  1. Custom-made collection vial adaptor to be used with UDY Sample Cyclone Mill plant grinding machine to grind soybean stem samples, ($170)
  2. Three, Ace glass 90mL pressure tubes for use in acid hyrolysis of ground soybean stem samples, ($130)

Due to the small amounts of material for testing, any loss to the sample would be detrimental to collection of data. Therefore, the $170 adapter is imperative to obtain accurate readings for this experiment. The remaining $130 will be used to buy three Ace pressure tubes that will contribute to a faster rate at which samples can be processed.

Total amount requested: $300