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Novel enzyme from tiny gribble could prove a boon for biofuels research
Date:6/18/2013

ly deconstructing the cellulose in biomass. The gribble enzymes hold promise of tolerating salts much better, likely due to the fact they evolved in a marine environment. This unique adaptation may have beneficial implications for the ability of the gribble enzymes to more efficiently operate in a high-solids, industrial environment, breaking biomass down more effectively into sugars, which can then be converted into ethanol or a hydrocarbon fuel to replace gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel.

The biofuels industry needs tough, efficient enzymes that are tolerant of industrial processes. "For biochemical conversion with enzymes, industry needs to push up to very high solids, with very little water around," NREL Senior Scientist Gregg Beckham, one of the co-authors, said. "The structure of the gribble enzyme reveals new evolutionary adaptations that may suggest mechanisms for producing more robust, industrial enzymes for high-solids loadings environments."

NREL ran computer simulations and aided in the structural and biochemical analysis of the enzyme.

The work leading to the paper provided deeper understanding of how the organism adapts and survives. NREL and UK scientists are now examining how features of the gribble enzymes could be incorporated into industrially relevant enzymes and settings.


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Contact: David Glickson
david.glickson@nrel.gov
303-275-4097
DOE/National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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