A global team of scientists, with researchers from York University and the Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Marseille, has isolated an enzyme group containing copper (lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases – LPMOs) in fungi that can separate a common and primary component of wood (xylans or carbohydrate molecules) that is especially resilient to decomposition in forests. These enzymes may well be used to transform wood biomass into important chemical produces, like biofuels, in a sustainable way.
Wood is flourishing as a more viable source of innovative biofuels substituting oil and coal. Nevertheless, in spite of the promise it holds, the substance is challenging to breakdown.
Existing bio refineries for wood must use pre-treatment procedures. This makes the transformation of wood into products and fuels energy-consuming and costly. In ecologies, fungi are important in breaking down the perplexing molecular make-up of wood within the CO cycle, discharging nutrients and returning them to the soil. This ability motivated the investigation into how it occurs.
Professor Paul Walton of the Chemistry Department at York University and co-author of the study, communicated in Nature Chemical Biology, that the group of enzymes in fungi that they discovered in 2010, may support the growth of enhanced enzyme combinations for bio-refinery applications that utilize wood – exposing its transformation into a broad variety of valued produces in a manner that is sustainable.
Gideon Davies from the University of York’s Department of and study co-author added that this discovery furthers our understanding of the manner in which wood biomass found in nature decomposes. Furthermore, this finding exposes the basic and challenging scientific task of the manner in which bio-refineries may transform wood into biofuel in manner that is both profitable and environmentally friendly.
This brings us that much closer to an ecological 21st Century.
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