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Transgenic Plants Produce Cellulose-Degrading Enzymes

Background: The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in using genetically modified plants as an alternative source of cellulase enzymes for biofuel production and other applications. Technology Description: Transgenic plants which express cellulose-degrading enzymes methods to make the transgenic plants and methods to use the cellulose-degrading enzymes produced by the Lignocellulosic plant matter such as agricultural waste and energy crops grown specifically for biomass offer tremendous potential for the renewable production of fuel and chemical feedstocks. Unfortunately lignocellulose is a complex material requiring intensive pretreatment before it can be transformed into ethanol or other chemicals. Several microbial enzymes called cellulases are known to degrade lignocellulosic material. These enzymes are naturally found in the fungus Trichoderma reesei and the bacterium Thermomonospora fusca. Until now attempts to create transgenic plants that express these enzymes have proven unsuccessful. transgenic plants are disclosed. UW–Madison researchers have developed a method for using recombinant plants to produce cellulase enzymes. Unlike conventional microbial fermentation the new method yields enzymes on a large agricultural scale. Applications: 1) Cellulase production 2) Biomass conversion ethanol feedstock chemicals textiles (e.g. ‘stone-washed’ denim) pulping papermaking animal feed brewing and wine production Patent Status: US5981835

Benefits:

Enables larger scale more efficient production of cellulase enzymes

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