Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 19, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The production of fuels and chemicals from cellulosic biomass has been extensively studied from an economic, engineering, biochemical and microbiological standpoint. While it is currently possible to produce ethanol from cellulosic substrates, economics dictate that the efficiency of production must be improved if fuel alcohol is to be competitive with either gasoline produced from crude oil or ethanol produced from starch. In current biomass processing schemes, the cellulosic feedstock is typically pretreated and then subjected to enzymatic saccharification with cellulase. One of the rate-limiting steps in the enzymatic saccharification of cellulose is the conversion of cellobiose to glucose by beta-glucosidase. This review presents a brief overview of the structures of various substrates, pretreatment processes and the enzymology of cellulase. A more detailed discussion of the function, regulation and molecular biology of a unique beta-glucosidase produced by the yeast Candida wickerhamii is presented.