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Development of an Immobilized Enzyme System for Lignocellulosic Biomass Saccharification


Richard Zare, Department of Chemistry, Stanford University


This exploratory project is aimed at solving the problems associated with a critical, rate-limiting step in the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to the sugar feedstock for biofuels synthesis. Microfibrillar cellulose, the major source of these sugars, requires a suite of specialized enzymes acting in a concerted fashion, to break it down to its individual sugars. This research sets out to immobilize these enzymes in such a way that their active sites are brought into close proximity to the substrate and to one another leading to enhancement of enzymatic activity. Using a sol-gel polymer to immobilize the enzymes by entrapment and covalent attachment, the researchers will test enzyme stability for optimal conditions for cellulase bioconversion and kinetics compared to free cellulase.

Progress Report