Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Powerful enzymes create ethanol from agricultural harvest waste

Date:
January 8, 2013
Source:
Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT)
Summary:
Researchers in Finland and colleagues have developed powerful enzymes, which accelerate plant biomass conversion into sugars and further into products such as bioethanol. The project's results include lignin-tolerant enzymes and enzyme cocktails for processing spruce, straw, corn cob and wheat bran. The commercialization of these enzymes has now begun in the Netherlands.

The mainly EU-funded DISCO project coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed powerful enzymes, which accelerate plant biomass conversion into sugars and further into products such as bioethanol. The project's results include lignin-tolerant enzymes and enzyme cocktails for processing spruce, straw, corn cob and wheat bran. The commercialisation of these enzymes has now begun in the Netherlands.

The EU's DISCO project developed powerful enzymes and enzyme cocktails suitable for various raw materials, with the purpose of converting agricultural side streams into fermentable sugars and further into products such as bioethanol. Plant biomass was chosen as the raw material for the project, since it contains lignocellulosic biomass, which is an abundant raw material.

The commercialisation process of the second-generation bioethanol industry, which uses lignocellulosic biomass instead of starch, has reached critical momentum: there are a total of 15 plants being constructed in Europe, the Americas and Asia. Lignocellulosic biomass use will substantially expand the market for industrial enzymes. The total industrial enzyme market is currently worth approximately 2.7 million euros per annum.

The raw materials studied in the project were spruce, straw, corn cob and wheat bran used as animal feed. In Finland, the proportion of forest biomass, and conifer biomass in particular, is significant.

Lignocellulosic biomass consists of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Agricultural harvest waste contains large amounts of lignocellulosic biomass, which can be converted industrially into fermentable sugars with the help of enzymes. Microbes can then be used to produce various chemicals, such as bioethanol, from the sugars. Lignocellulosic biomass contains substantial amounts of lignin, which interferes with enzyme activity.

The DISCO project produced new knowledge on the inactivating property of lignin, which helped scientists develop enzymes that tolerate lignin better. New information on enzymes and activities that break down hemicellulose, vital for the efficient exploitation of plant biomass, was also obtained during the project.

British scientists participating in the project determined the structural characteristics of various raw materials. This information can be used to select appropriate enzyme cocktails for raw materials when upgrading plant biomass.

The Dutch company Dyadic is currently commercialising the enzymes developed in the project.

Research Professor Kristiina Kruus of VTT coordinated the DISCO project, which had a total of 11 participants from seven countries. VTT's scientific role in the project related to discovering and developing enzymes from environmental samples as well as culture collections.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT). "Powerful enzymes create ethanol from agricultural harvest waste." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130108084136.htm>.
Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT). (2013, January 8). Powerful enzymes create ethanol from agricultural harvest waste. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130108084136.htm
Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT). "Powerful enzymes create ethanol from agricultural harvest waste." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130108084136.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins