Researchers at Norwegian university discover how LPMOs break down cellulose

September 5, 2017 |

In Norway, researchers at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) discovered that the mechanism by which “Lytic Polysaccharide Monooxygenases” or LPMOs break down cellulose is different from what was previously thought. What has been discovered is that LPMOs do not need oxygen but hydrogen peroxide, which is a cheap liquid chemical. Although this finding may seem small to some, it actually goes against well-established dogmas in biochemistry. Moreover, and most importantly, since the mechanism of these enzymes is different than previously thought, the way to harness their potential in industrial biorefining needs to be reconsidered. Building on their discovery, they show that by controlling the supply of hydrogen peroxide, one can achieve stable enzymatic cellulose conversion processes, much higher conversion rates than previously thought possible and higher glucose yields.

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