Vermerris, Wilfred

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Vermerris, Wilfred

PERSONAL:

Education: Wageningen University, Netherlands, master's degree; North Carolina State University, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Office—University of Florida, 1376 Mowry Rd., P.O. Box 103610, Gainesville, FL 32610-3610. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Agronomist, educator, and writer. University of Florida, Gainesville, associate professor in the agronomy department, also member of the Genetics Institute and the Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program, beginning c. 2006; Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, full-time faculty member, 2001-06, then adjunct associate professor in agricultural & biological engineering.

WRITINGS:

(With Ralph Nicholson) Phenolic Compound Biochemistry, Springer (Dordrecht, Holland), 2006.

(Editor) Genetic Improvement of Bioenergy Crops, Springer (Dordrecht, Holland), 2008.

Coeditor-in-chief of the journal BioEnergy Research.

SIDELIGHTS:

Wilfred Vermerris is an agronomist whose research interests focus primarily on cell wall biosynthesis in grasses, particularly maize and sorghum. He is an expert on the brown midrib mutants of these two plants, a group of cell wall mutants characterized by the brown vascular tissue in the leaves and stems. He is studying these mutants' impact on plant growth and development production.

Vermerris is also the author, with Ralph Nicholson, of Phenolic Compound Biochemistry. Designed for researchers and for advanced students in the life sciences, the book examines both the chemical diversity of phenolic compounds, also called phenols, and their wide variety of uses and effects, from their beneficial effects in red wine, to tannin use in leather production, to how plants use phenolic compounds in their physical and mechanical defense mechanisms against fungi. In addition to discussing these properties, the authors write about biosynthesis, isolation and characterization of phenolic compounds, and how phenolics impact human health. The text also includes illustrations of chemical structures and reaction schemes.

The authors begin with an overview of phenolic compounds, including definitions and classes of these compounds. They then go on to discuss benzene rings. Chapter three includes an examination of protein isolation and purification, gene cloning strategies, and biosynthesis of phenolic compounds. Next, the authors explore the isolation of phenolic compounds and the identification and characterization of these compounds, as well as their visualization via histochemical stains. Chapter five focused on mass spectrometry while chapter six analyzes preformed antimicrobial and insecticidal metabolites and the compounds formed in response to pathogens. The authors close with a discussion of phenolic compounds' antioxidant properties and their role in disease prevention and activity against toxins.

As editor of Genetic Improvement of Bioenergy Crops, Vermerris presents a comprehensive look by various experts at the development of dedicated bioenergy crops. Primarily targeting students in plant sciences, biological engineering, or related disciplines, the book begins with an examination of the politics of bioenergy and the production processes currently used to create ethanol fuel. In addition to providing a introduction to genetics and plant breeding, the book goes on discuss topics such as biosynthesis and analysis of plant cell walls and the process of biomass. The latter half of the book examines various genetic resources that can be used to improve the usefulness of different species of woody plants as bioenergy feedstocks for the production of biofuels, such as ethanol. The potential of these feedstocks are important, especially in the U.S., because most ethanol produced in the America is made with cornstarch. Most experts expect the future need for ethanol to be far higher than what can be produced from U.S. farmers' corn crops.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October, 2007, B. Williams, review of Phenolic Compound Biochemistry, p. 311.

ONLINE

International Plant Breeding Symposium Web site,http://www.intlplantbreeding.com/ (August 20, 2008), brief profile of author.

Springer Web site,http://www.springer.com/ (August 20, 2008), overviews of Phenolic Compound Biochemistry and Genetic Improvement of Bioenergy Crops and brief profile of author.

University of Florida Agronomy Department Web site,http://agronomy.ifas.ufl.edu/ (August 20, 2008), faculty profile of author.