Cornell finds a new enzyme for ethanol production

In a breakthrough that could make the production of cellulosic ethanol less expensive, Cornell researchers have discovered a class of plant enzymes that potentially could allow plant materials used to make ethanol to be broken down more efficiently than is possible using current technologies, according to a report on the University of Illinois Center for  Advanced BioEnergy Research blog.  

According to Biofuel Review

“The bottleneck for conversion of lignocellulose into ethanol is efficient cellulose degradation,” said Jocelyn Rose, Cornell assistant professor of plant biology. “The discovery of these enzymes suggests there might be sets of new plant enzymes to improve the efficiency of cellulose degradation.”

The paper appears in the April 20 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Breeanna Urbanowicz, a graduate student in Rose’s laboratory, was the paper’s lead author.

Is your firm working on inserting this gene into corn, or something more exotic, like Eucalyptus?

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