Novel enzymatic mechanism for biorefining and sustainable production of biofuels

In 2010, researchers at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) were the first to describe a new class of enzymes that have created a revolution in the area of biorefining. These enzymes, known as “Lytic Polysaccharide Monooxygenases” or LPMOs, have drastically improved our ability to convert cellulose into fermentable sugar (glucose), which is a key step in the production of so-called second generation biofuels and other biomass-derived products. Today, modern cellulose-degrading enzyme cocktails, thanks to these LPMOs, are so efficient that commercial production of second generation bioethanol has become a reality.