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Going to Extremes for Enzymes

Extremophiles thriving in thermal springs where the water temperature can be close to boiling can be a rich source of enzymes for the deconstruction of lignocellulose.

In the search for enzymes that can break lignocellulose down into biofuel sugars under the extreme conditions of a refinery, chemist Douglas Clark prospects for extremophilic microbes and engineers cellulases of his own.

Turning Up the Heat on Biofuels

Researchers with the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) have employed a promising technique for improving the ability of cellulase enzymes to operate at advantageously high temperatures.

Sweet Success:

Using an ultrahigh-precision microscopy technique, Berkeley Lab
researchers have uncovered a way to improve the collective catalytic activity of enzyme cocktails on cellulosic biomass, boosting the yields of sugars for the production of advanced biofuels.

More Bang for the Biofuel Buck

The fermentation process used in World War I to make cordite for bullets and artillary shells might find new use today in the production of advanced biofuels.

Berkeley Lab researchers have shown that a fermentation process used in World War I to make cordite for bullets and artillery shells, in combination with a modern palladium catalyst could produce gasoline, diesel or jet fuel from the sugars found in biomass.