Extremophile-inspired strategies for enzymatic biomass saccharification

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Domestic ethanol production in the USA relies on starch feedstocks using a first generation bioprocess. Enzymes that contribute to this industry remain of critical value in new and established markets as commodity additives and for in planta production. A transition to non-food feedstocks is both desirable and essential to enable larger scale production. This objective would relieve dependence on foreign oil and strengthen the national economy. Feedstocks derived from corn stover, wheat straw, perennial grasses and timber require pretreatment to increase the accessibility of the cellulosic and hemicellulosic substrates to commodity enzymes for saccharification, which is followed by fermentation-based conversion of monosaccharides to ethanol. Hot acid pretreatment is the industrial standard method used to achieve deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass. Therefore, enzymes that tolerate both acid and heat may contribute toward the improvement of lignocellulosic biomass processing. These enzymes are produced naturally by extremely thermophilic microbes, sometimes called extremophiles. This review summarizes information on enzymes from selected (acido)thermophiles that mediate saccharification of α-and β-linked carbohydrates of relevance to biomass processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1005-1015
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Technology
Volume31
Issue number8-9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2010

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Keywords

  • Pyrococcus
  • Sulfolobus
  • Thermotoga
  • biomass
  • cellobiohydrolase
  • cellulose
  • endoglucanase
  • extremophile
  • glycosyl hydrolase
  • starch
  • thermophile

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal

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