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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Biorefining Processes

Location: Bioproducts Research

Title: Development of enzymes and enzyme systems by genetic engineering to convert biomass to sugars

Authors
item Lee, Charles
item Wagschal, Kurt

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 9, 2012
Publication Date: April 25, 2012
Citation: Lee, C.C., Wagschal, K.C. 2013. Development of enzymes and enzyme systems by genetic engineering to convert biomass to sugars. [Abstract}. California American Chemical Society Section Meeting, April 25, 2012, Albany CA.

Technical Abstract: TITLE Development of Enzymes and Enzyme Systems by Genetic Engineering to Convert Biomass to Sugars ABSTRACT Plant cellulosic material is one of the most viable renewable resources for the world’s fuel and chemical feedstock needs. Currently ethanol derived from corn starch is the most common liquid biofuel used in the world. In the United States, more than 95% of fuel ethanol is fermented from storage carbohydrate (corn starch). While 27% of the corn crop is used to produce approximately 13 billion gallons of ethanol, it only displaces 10% of the country’s gasoline usage. Thus, it is not possible to replace significantly larger fractions of fossil fuel by relying on grain crops. Great attention, therefore, has been placed on research to harnessing the more abundant structural carbohydrates (lignocelluloses) of plants. The primary disadvantage of lignocellulosic biomass is that these carbohydrates serve a structural and protective function and, thus, have evolved to be resistant to breakdown into simple sugars. This resistance to enzymes is accomplished in part by the crosslinked matrix of the three main components of biomass (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin), and each of these fractions is composed of distinct precursors and linkages. This talk will focus on our research to develop the battery of enzymes that will efficiently convert the recalcitrant lignocellulosic biomass into sugars which can be fermented into a wide variety of products.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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