Researchers Study How LPMOs Break Down Cellulose

Lytic Polysaccharide Monooxygenases (LPMOs) are abundant in nature and are known to play roles in several processes besides biomass degradation. These enzymes have drastically improved our ability to convert cellulose into fermentable sugar, for the production of second generation biofuels and other biomass-derived products. However, it is still not clear how LPMOs work at the molecular level.

Bastien Bissaro, a guest researcher at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and a team led by Vincent Eijsink have discovered the mechanism by which LPMOs break down cellulose. Researchers found that LPMOs do not need oxygen but hydrogen peroxide, a cheap liquid chemical. Building on their discovery, Bissaro and the team have also found that by controlling the supply of hydrogen peroxide, they can achieve stable enzymatic cellulose conversion processes.

From a scientific point of view, these findings reveal a new type of chemistry that nature uses to break down cellulose.


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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