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Keywords:

  • cellulase;
  • corn;
  • cellulose digestion;
  • cellobiose;
  • germplasm;
  • high oil

Summary

Using plants as biofactories for industrial enzymes is a developing technology. The application of this technology to plant biomass conversion for biofuels and biobased products has potential for significantly lowering the cost of these products because of lower enzyme production costs. However, the concentration of the enzymes in plant tissue must be high to realize this goal. We describe the enhancement of the accumulation of cellulases in transgenic maize seed as a part of the process to lower the cost of these dominant enzymes for the bioconversion process. We have used breeding to move these genes into elite and high oil germplasm to enhance protein accumulation in grain. We have also explored processing of the grain to isolate the germ, which preferentially contains the enzymes, to further enhance recovery of enzyme on a dry weight basis of raw materials. The enzymes are active on microcrystalline cellulose to release glucose and cellobiose.