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Cost-Effective Enzyme for Producing Biofuels from Cellulosic Biomass

Inventors: Ming Woei Lau, Bruce Dale

Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

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Technology Marketing SummaryProducing biofuels from cellulosic materials, such as corn stalks, wood chips, and other biomass, requires the use of enzymes to degrade the cellulosic biomass into its molecular components. The cost to produce these enzymes is high, a factor contributing to the limited production of cellulosic ethanol.DescriptionMichigan State University’s invention reduces the cost of enzyme production substantially. The technology provides a mixture that is three to five times more potent at inducing production enzymes, including cellulolytic enzyme production from saccharolytic microorganisms such as Trichoderma reseei. The mixture is half as expensive as conventional inducers such as lactose and cellulose, significantly reducing the cost of cellulase and subsequently reducing the cost of cellulosic biofuels and chemicals.Benefits
  • Reduced cost: The invention provides a less expensive (approximately 100X lower than existing materials such as lactose) alternative for the production of cellulosic enzymes used in the production of various products from cellulosic biomass.
  • Versatility: The mixture can likely be produced from various cellulosic raw materials (i.e., not restricted to one kind of biomass).
  • Potential to be produced in-house: The enzyme could potentially be produced in house by biorefineries, reducing one of the cost impediments to cellulosic biofuels.
  • Potency: The technology is three to five times more potent in inducing enzyme production.
Applications and IndustriesThe technology has applications for cellulosic ethanol production/biomass deconstruction. It offers biorefineries the potential to produce enzymes in-house, which could drastically reduce one of the cost impediments in the production of cellulosic biofuels.More Information

The Inventors

Intellectual Property Status
Patent pending.


This work was funded by the DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (DOE BER Office of Science DE-FC02-07ER64494

Published: Aug. 2011

Technology Status
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To: Thomas Herlache<>