Biomass Depolymerization projects
Enzyme Cocktail Studies
The EBI’s enzyme portfolio includes thermostable enzymes that target hemicellulose and cellulose for degradation. The aim of this project, which is a collaboration among several EBI investigators and a BP scientist, is to systematically examine different mixtures of the thermostable enzymes for their capacity to depolymerize Agave and sugarcane bagasse.
We started in 2014 with a 6-enzyme mix and analyzed the degraded and undegraded components. We will augment the enzyme mixture using our knowledge of the linkages commonly associated with the components of the undegraded products. We will use several gene expression systems based on Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus megaterium, two filamentous fungi or a plant to examine expression of putative hemicellulases and cellulases that have been recalcitrant to expression in standard bacterial expression systems. These predicted plant cell wall degrading enzymes come from high-temperature environments and, if expressed, will serve as a library from which we can complement or enhance the utility of the 6 thermostable enzymes used as the foundation of our enzyme cocktail. We will further analyze the effect of chelation of enzymes by lignin on the performance of our enzyme mixtures.