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Development of Enzymes for use in Lignocellulose Processing

Photo of Proposed Van der waals interactions between a xylooligosaccharide and an appendage depended xylan degrading enzyme. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Proposed Van der waals interactions between a xylooligosaccharide and an appendage depended xylan degrading enzyme. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : The ultimate best use of lignocellulose allows for the selective extraction of defined value streams. To facilitate this, Forest Service research strives to develop new enzymes with unique capabilities in biomass processing. These new enzymes aim to maximize the potential of lignocellulosic biomass utilization.

Principal Investigators(s) :
St. John, FranzCrooks, M.E. Casey
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 954

Summary

Systematic forest clearing of underbrush and small-diameter timber is desirable to decrease the severity of wildfires. Maximizing the value of this low-value biomass is necessary to offset the costs associated with this labor-intensive process. Pretreatment schemes that allow for maximum-value yield may increase the value of these lignocellulosic materials. Applying enzymes with defined function in conjunction with alkaline pretreatment schemes may result in hemicellulosic polysaccharides, which may be subsequently processed with enzymes to produce value-added products. One example of such a product is xylan-derived prebiotic sugars, which is a microbiome for human consumption that can be beneficial in maintenance of intestinal health. To further this goal, Forest Service scientists have identified multiple new enzymes that selectively hydrolyze the most abundant hemicellulose xylan in a manor unique compared with other xylan-degrading enzymes. They are studying the function of these enzymes to determine how they may be best applied to the production of value-added products from lignocellulosic biomass.

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