1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To create a scaffold system that can be used to test various enzymes to rapidly break down biomass as well as produce value-added products.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Determine ideal enzyme ratios (assembled on a protein scaffold) to hydrolyze various biomass substrates. Enzyme cocktails will be developed that will reduce the severity of costly pretreatment conditions.
Scientists within the unit received a 3-year, $479K NIFA grant to develop multi-functional enzymes with significantly better biomass-degrading properties. Multi-functional enzymes have multiple active sites. Work has shown that enzymes tethered to scaffolding proteins (self-assembling nanostructure chaperonin complex) can exhibit greater synergism than if the same enzymes are free in solution. The work is being initiated with cellulases and hemicellulases. This research is being performed in collaboration with multiple partners from both industry and a government agency (NASA). This research addresses parent project objective 2: "Develop new enzyme-based technologies that enable the production of commercially-viable* coproducts such as specialty chemicals, polymer precursors, and nutritional additives/supplements from raw or pretreated lignocellulosic biomass".