Dr Gordon Graham Allison

BEACON Scientist

Aberystwyth University


I have worked as a scientist in Aberystwyth since 1991. I graduated in biochemistry at the University of Dundee in 1984 and obtained a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Swansea in 1991on the uptake and metabolism of purines by marine micro-algae.  My research interests have included the molecular engineering of condensed tannin composition in forage legumes and the identification of plasma metabolite biomarkers of spongiform encephalopathies in preclinical cattle and sheep.

Research Interests

My research looks at the complex effect of plant cell wall composition on conversion efficiency to heat, power, chemicals and liquid fuels. It has focused largely on biomass crop species e.g. Miscanthus, switchgrass, reed canary, willow and perennial forage grasses.

The goals of my research include expanding understanding of cell wall biology in energy crop species and facilitating the breeding of energy grass varieties of a composition better matched to specific end uses. I use many analytical techniques to characterise cell wall and specialise in developing high through put assays based on infrared analysis and multivariate mathematics.

BEACON Activities

Analysis of feed stock and residue composition and analysis of complex data sets. Future Plans

  • Interact with BEACON partners and industry to use advanced analytical and chemometric techniques to underpin projects.


  • Allison, G. G., Morris, C., Lister, S. J., Barraclough, T., Yates, N., Shield, I. and Donnison, I. S. Biomass and Bioenergy (in press). Effect of nitrogen fertiliser application on cell wall composition in switchgrass and reed canary grass
  • Mark P. Robbins, Geraint Evans, John Valentine, Iain S. Donnison and Gordon G. Allison, (2012) Progress in Energy and Combustion Science 38 138-155. New opportunities for the exploitation of energy crops for combustion in Northern Europe and the UK
  • John Valentine, John Clifton-Brown, Astley Hastings, Paul Robson, Gordon Allison and Pete Smith (2012), Global Change Biology Bioenergy (2012) 4 1-19, Food vs. fuel: the use of land for lignocellulosic ‘next generation’ energy crops that minimise competition with primary food production
  • Allison, G. G., Morris, C., Lister, S. J., Clifton-Brown, J. and Donnison, I. S. (2011) Biomass and Bioenergy 35 4740-4747. Genotypic variation in cell wall composition in a diverse set of 244 accessions of Miscanthus
  • Allison, G. G., Application of Fourier transform mid-infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) for research into biomass feed-stocks; in Fourier Transforms- New Approaches and FTIR strategies, Intech, Ed. Goran Nikolic (2011). ISBN 978-953-307-232-6 (
  • Allison, G.G., Robbins, M.P., Carli, J., Clifton-Brown, J. and Donnison, I.S. (2010) Designing biomass crops with improved calorific content and attributes for burning: a U.K. perspective; in Plant biotechnology for sustainable production of energy and co-products, Springer, Ed. Steve Thomas, Peter Mascia and Jack Widholm
  • Allison, G.G., Morris, C., Hodgson, E., Jones, J., Kubacki, M., Baraclough, T., Yates, N., Shield, I., Bridgwater, A.V. and Donnison, I.S. , Bioresource Technology (2009) 100 6428-6433, Measurement of key compositional parameters in two species of energy grass by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
  • Cheng Y., Edwards E.J, Allison G.G., Zhu W.-Y., Theodorou K.M., Bioresource Technology (2009) 100 4821-4828, Diversity and activity of enriched ruminal cultures of anaerobic fungi and methanogens grown together on lignocellulose in consecutive batch culture
  • Allison, G.G., Thain, S., Morris, P., Morris, C., Hawkins, S., Hauck, B., Baraclough, T., Yates, N., Shield, I., Bridgwater, T. and Donnison, I.S., Bioresource Technology (2009) 100 1252-1261, Quantification of hydroxycinnamic acids and lignin in perennial forage and energy grasses by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and partial least squares regression