Skip to Content
Find More Like This
Return to Search

Enhanced Processive Cellulases

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Contact NREL About This Technology

Technology Marketing Summary

Methods for the production of fuels from biomass-derived sugars range from producing ethanol via fermentation to producing higher alcohols from genetically modified organisms. One current method to produce sugars from lignocellulosic biomass utilizes a thermochemical pretreatment step and enzyme cocktails to deconstruct cellulose and hemicellulose to soluble sugar. These enzyme cocktails are based on fungal or bacterial cellulose secretomes, where the fungal cocktails are an important platform for the production of cellulases at extremely high protein titers. Processive cellulases, such as enzymes from Family 7 glycoside hydrolases (GH7), within these fungal cocktails are the primary components that provide hydrolytic activity for cellulose conversion to glucose and have thus been the focus of many structural and biochemical studies and the primary targets for cellulase engineering. 


Researchers at NREL have constructed chimeric enzymes of Family 7 glycoside hydrolases (GH7) that consist of domains from Penicillium funiculosum and Trichoderma reesei Ce17A polypeptides. These novel chimeric Ce17A polypeptides have exhibited significant increases in hydrolysis activity (on the order of 2-fold improvement) over wild-type Trichoderma reesei and Penicillium funiculosum GH7 enzymes. In addition, these novel enzymes can be utilized to degrade cellulose or lignocellulosic biomass when contacted with a cellulose containing material. 

  • Increased hydrolysis activity
  • Reduced costs
Applications and Industries
  • Biofuels
  • Biomass degradation
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 9,683,248
Enhanced processive cellulases
Nucleic acid sequences encoding chimeric polypeptides that exhibit enhanced cellulase activities are disclosed herein. These nucleic acids may be expressed in hosts such as fungi, which in turn may be cultured to produce chimeric polypeptides. Also disclosed are chimeric polypeptides and their use in the degradation of cellulosic materials.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory 06/20/2017
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
NREL ROI 11-07DevelopmentAvailable12/29/201612/29/2016

Contact NREL About This Technology

To: Eric Payne<>