U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

Progress in Developing Highly Stable Enzymes for Biofuel Production
Published: July 27, 2009
Posted: August 06, 2009

Large scale processing of biomass will require enzymes that work at the high temperatures to efficiently and effectively break down the biomass feedstock. Researchers at the DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have just announced significant progress toward meeting this need by determining the three-dimensional structure of an enzyme that degrades cellulose at elevated temperatures. They observed unique structural features such as patterns of internal bonding and incorporation of metal ions that suggest how the enzyme retains its activity at high temperatures where the function of most enzymes is destroyed. The structural information is guiding bioengineering of new forms of the enzyme that will work at still higher temperatures or in harsh chemical environments and with enhanced efficiency.

Reference: Acta Crystallographica D, volume 65, pages 744-750 (August 2009)

Contact: Susan Gregurick, SC-23.2, (301) 903-7672
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC)
  • Research Area: Biosystems Design
  • Research Area: Structural Biology, Biomolecular Characterization and Imaging

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER


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