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Proteins for Breaking Barriers in Lignocellulosic Bioethanol Production

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Reduction in fossil fuel consumption by using alternate sources of energy is a major challenge facing mankind in the coming decades. Bioethanol production using lignocellulosic biomass is the most viable option for addressing this challenge. Industrial bioconversion of lignocellulosic biomass, though possible now, is not economically viable due to presence of barriers that escalate the cost of production. As cellulose and hemicellulose are the major constituents of terrestrial biomass, which is available in massive quantities, hydrolysis of cellulose and hemicellulose by the microorganisms are the most prominent biochemical processes happening in the earth. Microorganisms possess different categories of proteins associated with different stages of bioethanol production and a number of them are already found and characterized. Many more of these proteins need to be identified which suit the specificities needed for the bioethanol production process. Discovery of proteins with novel specificities and application of genetic engineering technologies to harvest the synergies existing between them with the aim to develop consolidated bioprocess is the major direction of research in the future. In this review, we discuss the different categories of proteins used for bioethanol production in the context of breaking the barriers existing for the economically feasible lignocellulosic bioethanol production.
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Keywords: Cellulase; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; cellulose; ethanol; hemicellulase; hemicellulose; inhibitor; lignocellulose; sugar transporter

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2015

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