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New enzyme insights drive advances in commercial ethanol production

Authors
  • Harris, Paul V
  • Xu, Feng
  • Kreel, Nathaniel E
  • Kang, Connie
  • Fukuyama, Shiro1, 2, 3
  • 1 Novozymes Inc.
  • 2 Novozymes North America
  • 3 Novozymes Japan
Type
Published Article
Journal
Current Opinion in Chemical Biology
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
Volume
19
Pages
162–170
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2014.02.015
Source
Elsevier
License
Unknown

Abstract

Innovations at a small scale through enzyme discovery in the laboratory can have large scale impacts when rolled out in an industrial process, and this is evidenced in recent advances for commercial ethanol production. In the starch to ethanol processes, new enzyme product launches squeeze even more value from an already efficient process, as evidenced in new use of proteases for oil release and cellulases for downstream processing and ethanol yield. As for biomass to ethanol, diverse new thermophilic enzymes, expansins and auxiliary activity (AA) collections are growing rapidly. Our mechanistic understanding of the functions of AA family 9, cellulose binding modules, and cellulase/xylanase synergy will lead to continued improvements in overall enzymatic conversion, thus reducing cost for cellulosic ethanol (or other biofuel) production.

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