Oxygen-Radical Pretreatment Promotes Enzyme Activity for Cellulose Degradation


The efficiency of enzymes is important in industrial refinery processes, including biofuel production. Chemical methods have been effective for breaking the recalcitrance of lignocellulose biomass. However, these methods have a detrimental effect on the environment. The team of Kiyota Sakai from Meijo University in Japan tested whether oxygen-radical pretreatment can enhance cellulolytic activity. The team first developed a radical generator based on non-thermal atmospheric pressure plasma technology.

Results showed that oxygen-radical pretreatment of carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) and wheat straw enhanced the degradation of cellulose by cellulases from Phanerochaete chrysosporium. Further analysis showed that compared with non-pretreated CMC, oxygen-radical pretreatment significantly increased the production of reducing sugars. Meanwhile, the amount of reducing sugars from oxygen-radical-pretreated wheat straw was found to be 1.8 times greater than those from non-pretreated wheat straw.

These findings indicated that oxygen-radical pretreatment of plant biomass offers great promise in pre-treatment processes.


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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