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Enzyme discovery and enzyme application on wood

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“Our project aims to identify enzymes that have the ability to increase the efficiency of the biorefinery process, designed for the production of biofuels, -chemicals, and -materials. Specifically, this project aims to find, characterize, and utilize, enzyme that attack specific bonds in the complex biomass structure, to increase the saccharification efficiency of cellulolytic enzyme cocktails and release specialty chemicals. Further, we are scouting for enzyme activities that can perform modification of wood polymers to give them specific properties and facilitate valorization. For enzyme discovery, microbial diversity offers a vast source as microbes can synthesize, modify and decompose any organic compound that exist in nature and so far, only 1-5 % of microbial diversity has been exploited. Here, we will explore the biodiversity as a possibility to find completely new enzyme activities for biomass tailoring and degradation. Due to the chemical and structural diversity of the biomass, as well as the broad variety of degradation strategies employed by the organisms, this project further thrives to establish and employ novel techniques, such as advanced imaging techniques. Enzyme discovery can follow different routes, here we will make use of modern systems biology tools for understanding of natural wood degradation and to find novel enzymes. Our project will focus on transcriptome and secretome analysis of wood-degrading filamentous fungi. We have a special interest in wood-degrading redox enzymes, lignin-carbohydrate complex active esterases as well as suberinases. We will study these enzymes in detail with the aim of understanding their structure and kinetics as well as their interaction with wood-derived molecules. Based on this knowledge we can tailor their use in different applications.In collaboration with WWSC material scientists we also plan to apply interesting enzyme candidates for functionalizing polymer films with the aim of developing precursors for biological materials.Part of WWSC”

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