Dr Jessica Adams

BEACON Scientist

Aberystwyth University


  • BSc Medical Microbiology (Hons.), University of Edinburgh
  • PhD Microbial biotechnology (BBSRC CASE), University of Manchester.

In November 2007 I began a post-doctorate researcher position funded by SUPERGEN –Bioenergy (EPSRC) working on the fermentation of selected seaweeds to produce bioethanol at IGER Aberystwyth (subsequently merged to IBERS, Aberystwyth University). From March 2009 I have been employed under the ISPG (BBSRC) at IBERS, Aberystwyth University working on the saccharification and fermentation of Miscanthus and other biomass crops and since December 2010 have spent part of my time on BEACON (ERDF) on macroalgae, novel micro-organisms and products from apple pomace.

Research Interests

Climate change, fuel security and economics are driving the use of renewable technologies.  All technologies may be used to generate electricity or heat either directly or indirectly, but only biomass is capable of producing liquid fuels for use as a transport fuel.  Most of these sources come into direct conflict with food production, whereas marine biomass is currently an under-exploited resource with the potential to produce large amounts of biofuel without adversely affecting food supplies.

My work to date has been demonstrating the importance of seasonal variation in the composition of the macroalgae species Laminaria digitata and the effect of this on biofuel production.  Bio-oil, -ethanol and –methane have been produced in addition to chemical composition analysis (see Adams et al., 2011 and Adams et al., 2011 in Bioresource Technology).

Future work will consider the production of higher value products and compounds from macroalgae and other selected feedstocks prior to the production of biofuels from the residues.

Within the ISPG programme I am considering different pretreatments on genetically variable Miscanthus material taken from collections within the Miscanthus breeding programme at IBERS. Material is subsequently saccharified using enzyme blends and fermented to ethanol to provide further information regarding inhibitor production by the processes.

BEACON Activities

I am employed for 60% of my time on BEACON, split between a number of projects. 

I am leading the project considering alternative uses of pomace, the residue fibre, pips, skin and stalk of apples following juicing. 

I am also involved in two other projects: one on commercial applications of compounds derived from macroalgae; the other on microbial decomposition of biomass for sugar release and organic acid production using novel sources of microorganisms.  This latter project will be predominantly the focus of a BEACON PhD student, Magda Dudek, who I will be co-supervising with Dr Joe Gallagher.

I am also providing support for a number of other projects in the area of biorefining and particularly fermentation, reflecting my expertise and interests in these areas.


Details of recent papers can be seen at