Enzymes for Lignocellulosic Ethanol Research

Sigma-Aldrich®is committed to help solve today′s challenge of releasing the energy of glucose that nature has cleverly locked into lignocellulosic biomass. To the untrained eye, starch and cellulose structures appear almost identical. Yet the barriers between cellulosic biomass hydrolysis and ethanol production have proven to be orders of magnitude more challenging than with starch-like biomass.
Although many of the biochemical aspects of these challenges are well understood, they remain an enigma of nature. The two main, and closely related hindrances to the enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulosic polymers are: How do we physically dismantle biomass on a molecular level to yield cellulosic polymers available to hydrolysis by cellulase and other glycolytic enzymes? How do we penetrate the barrier posed by the closely integrated network of liginins surrounding cellulose microfibrils?