A ‘tailor-made approach’ for biochemical and biofuel production

Scientists funded by the EU have designed cell structures that they say can break down biomass waste more effectively than one enzyme or a mix of enzymes.

The EU-funded CellulosomePlus project has developed a new way to break down cellulose into sugar efficiently.

Enzymes called cellulases, which are found in multi-enzyme cellulosome structures, break down cellulose efficiently into sugars. The researchers created new versions of these enzymes called designer cellulosomes (DCs) to achieve higher yields of fermentable sugars from the organic fraction of municipal solid waste.

Tailoring DCs for biomass lignocellulosic residues should improve process efficiency, said the researchers, reducing costs.

“The use of self-assembled DCs as nanocatalysts will benefit European biotechnology industries working in the transport-related sector, as well as chemical industries engaged in processing urban waste and residues from the agro-food, paper, and forestry sectors,” said Dr Carrión-Vázquez.

In a test of enzymatic activity, the researchers found that cellulosomes broke down lignocellulosic biomass more efficiently than a single purified enzyme or a mixture of enzymes.

See the original press release from the EU’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) here.

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