An Economical and Potent Mixture to Induce Cellulolytic Enzymes Production at High Concentration

Ming Woei Lau, Bruce Dale, Venkatesh Balan, Shishir Chundawat

Producing biofuels from cellulosic materials, such as corn stalks, wood chips, and other biomass, requires the use of enzymes to degrade the cellulosic biomass into its molecular components. The cost to produce these enzymes is high, a factor contributing to the limited production of cellulosic ethanol.

The Invention

Michigan State University’s invention reduces the cost of enzyme production substantially. The technology provides a mixture that is three to five times more potent at inducing production enzymes, including cellulolytic enzyme production from saccharolytic microorganisms such as Trichoderma reseei. The mixture is half as expensive as conventional inducers such as lactose and cellulose, significantly reducing the cost of cellulase and subsequently reducing the cost of cellulosic biofuels and chemicals.

Key Benefits
  • Reduced cost: The invention provides a less expensive (approximately 100X lower than existing materials such as lactose) alternative for the production of cellulosic enzymes used in the production of various products from cellulosic biomass.
  • Versatility: The mixture can likely be produced from various cellulosic raw materials (i.e., not restricted to one kind of biomass).
  • Potential to be produced in-house: The enzyme could potentially be produced in house by biorefineries, reducing one of the cost impediments to cellulosic biofuels.
  • Potency: The technology is three to five times more potent in inducing enzyme production.
  • The technology has applications for cellulosic ethanol production/biomass deconstruction. It offers biorefineries the potential to produce enzymes in-house, which could drastically reduce one of the cost impediments in the production of cellulosic biofuels.
Technology Contact

Thomas Herlache, Assistant Director, Michigan State University,

Sustainable Biomass Conversion