The present invention relates to methods for improving the yield of microbial processes that use lignocellulose biomass as a nutrient source. The methods comprise conditioning a composition comprising lignocellulose biomass with an enzyme composition that comprises a phenol oxidizing enzyme. The conditioned composition can support a higher rate of growth of microorganisms in a process. In one embodiment, a laccase composition is used to condition lignocellulose biomass derived from non-woody plants, such as corn and sugar cane. The invention also encompasses methods for culturing microorganisms that are sensitive to inhibitory compounds in lignocellulose biomass. The invention further provides methods of making a product by culturing the production microorganisms in conditioned lignocellulose biomass.
Portions of this work were funded by Subcontract No. ZCO-30017-01 with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory under Prime Contract No. DE-AC36-99GO10337 with the U.S. Department of Energy. Accordingly, the United States Government may have certain rights in this invention.