Researchers modify enzyme surfaces to reduce biofuel production costs

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In New Jersey, biofuels like the ethanol in U.S. gasoline could get cheaper thanks to experts at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Michigan State University. They’ve demonstrated how to design and genetically engineer enzyme surfaces so they bind less to corn stalks and other cellulosic biomass, reducing enzyme costs in biofuels production, according to a study published this month on the cover of the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. The Rutgers and Michigan State University researchers showed how specially designed enzymes (proteins) can limit their binding to and inactivation by lignin.