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Progress and challenges in enzyme development for biomass utilization.

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Novozymes Inc., 1445 Drew Ave., CA 95618, Davis, USA.


Enzymes play a critical role in the conversion of lignocellulosic waste into fuels and chemicals, but the high cost of these enzymes presents a significant barrier to commercialization. In the simplest terms, the cost is a function of the large amount of enzyme protein required to break down polymeric sugars in cellulose and hemicellulose to fermentable monomers. In the past 6 years, significant effort has been expended to reduce the cost by focusing on improving the efficiency of known enzymes, identification of new, more active enzymes, creating enzyme mixes optimized for selected pretreated substrates, and minimization of enzyme production costs. Here we describe advances in enzyme technology for use in the production of biofuels and the challenges that remain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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