Wageningen University & Research scientists have shown that specific biomass ingredients help a unique class of enzymes (Lytic Polysaccharide MonoOxygenases, LPMO’s) to breakdown recalcitrant polysaccharides, such as cellulose. These findings pave the way for more efficient production of second-generation biofuels and biomaterials from non-edible biomass.
To facilitate the transition from mineral oil to renewable energy resources it is a requirement to ensure a permanent supply of resources for the manufacturing industry. One of these renewable resources is cellulose, the most available natural polymer on the globe. However, the release of building blocks from cellulose is difficult and expensive since cellulose is highly resistant towards enzymatic decomposition.
For example, the crystalline cellulose fraction is poorly accessible for common enzymes, such as cellulases. Strikingly, recently discovered enzymes called lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases or LPMO’s for short, are able to improve the accessibility of cellulose and thereby decomposition by cellulases. These LPMO’s require the support of additional reducing agents to operate on industrial relevant conditions. Wageningen University & Research scientists have shown that these additional agents are present in the plant biomass, which is of interest for the processing & manufacturing industry.
The results of this study can be found in
Biotechnology for Biofuels (august 2016, DOI: 10.1186/s13068-016-0594-y).