Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Communities
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Powerful Enzymes Create Ethanol from Agricultural Harvest Waste

Published: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Bookmark and Share
The mainly EU-funded DISCO project coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed powerful enzymes, which accelerate plant biomass conversion into sugars and further into products such as bioethanol.

The project's results include lignin-tolerant enzymes and enzyme cocktails for processing spruce, straw, corn cob and wheat bran. The commercialisation of these enzymes has now begun in the Netherlands.

The EU's DISCO project developed powerful enzymes and enzyme cocktails suitable for various raw materials, with the purpose of converting agricultural side streams into fermentable sugars and further into products such as bioethanol. Plant biomass was chosen as the raw material for the project, since it contains lignocellulosic biomass, which is an abundant raw material.

The commercialisation process of the second-generation bioethanol industry, which uses lignocellulosic biomass instead of starch, has reached critical momentum: there are a total of 15 plants being constructed in Europe, the Americas and Asia. Lignocellulosic biomass use will substantially expand the market for industrial enzymes. The total industrial enzyme market is currently worth approximately 2.7 million euros per annum.

The raw materials studied in the project were spruce, straw, corn cob and wheat bran used as animal feed. In Finland, the proportion of forest biomass, and conifer biomass in particular, is significant.
Lignocellulosic biomass consists of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Agricultural harvest waste contains large amounts of lignocellulosic biomass, which can be converted industrially into fermentable sugars with the help of enzymes. Microbes can then be used to produce various chemicals, such as bioethanol, from the sugars. Lignocellulosic biomass contains substantial amounts of lignin, which interferes with enzyme activity.

The DISCO project produced new knowledge on the inactivating property of lignin, which helped scientists develop enzymes that tolerate lignin better. New information on enzymes and activities that break down hemicellulose, vital for the efficient exploitation of plant biomass, was also obtained during the project.

British scientists participating in the project determined the structural characteristics of various raw materials. This information can be used to select appropriate enzyme cocktails for raw materials when upgrading plant biomass.

The Dutch company Dyadic is currently commercialising the enzymes developed in the project.

Research Professor Kristiina Kruus of VTT coordinated the DISCO project, which had a total of 11 participants from seven countries. VTT's scientific role in the project related to discovering and developing enzymes from environmental samples as well as culture collections.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

VTT Printed a Morphine Test on Paper
Company use antibodies as morphine sensing molecules when creating this morphine test.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
European Research Project Aims at Early Diagnosis of Memory Disorders
800 patients to participate in testing new diagnostic procedures.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Novel Cancer Cell DNA Damage Repair Mechanism
Findings result from application of the cell microarray screening method developed at VTT.
Monday, December 23, 2013
International Prize for VTT's Allergy Vaccine Development Work
First vaccines to be ready for launch in about five years.
Monday, December 09, 2013
Method Developed by VTT Targets Diagnosis of Early Alzheimer’s Disease
Half of patients could be diagnosed a year earlier than current clinical practice.
Friday, December 07, 2012
Food Industry’s High-Quality Co-Streams Used Effectively as Raw Material for New Products
Researchers develop new ways of using substantial co-streams from fish and oil plant processing.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
VTT and GE Healthcare Developing Novel Biomarkers to Predict Alzheimer’s Disease
VTT and University of Eastern Finland scientists have discovered a serum biochemical signature.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Heparin-like Compounds Inhibit Breast Cancer Metastasis to Bone
Heparin-like compounds decreased bone destruction and tumor growth in bone.
Friday, June 15, 2012
VTT Identified Specific Bacteria which Precede Autoimmune Diabetes
New potential avenues for early disease detection and prevention.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Finnish Twin Study Yields New Information on How Fat Cells Cope With Obesity
The team used lipidomics to study the fat tissue biopsies among several sets of monozygotic twins.
Friday, July 29, 2011
One Step Closer to a Diagnostic Test for Schizophrenia
Scientists in Finland have revealed metabolic abnormalities that are associated with schizophrenia.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
VTT is Searching for New Drug Targets for Prostate Cancer in the New IMI PREDECT Project
PREDECT, one of IMI’s new projects, is developing novel models for breast, prostate and lung cancers.
Monday, April 04, 2011
New Potential Drug Targets Discovered for Preventing Prostate Cancer Cell Growth
Researchers from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the University of Turku have discovered four metabolic enzymes regulating prostate cancer cell growth.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Zora Biosciences Commercializes VTT's Biotechnology Expertise
Zora will provide laboratory services to pharmaceutical industry in the area of metabolomics and associated bioinformatics.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
VTT Develops Software Tool to Integrate and Analyze Complex Medical Data
The megNet® software can be applied in understanding complex relations in living organisms, and characterizing various diseases, such as cardiac diseases and diabetes.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Scientific News
13 Ways to Stop an Unseen Force from Disrupting Weighing
Download a free Mettler Toledo paper to discover how to halt static’s negative effects before the next weigh-in.
Flinders Ig Nobel Winner Cracks Global Anaesthetic
One of the world’s most in-demand anaesthetics can now be produced on the spot, thanks to the thermos-flask sized device that recently won Flinders University inventor Professor Colin Raston an Ig Nobel prize.
Resurrected Proteins Double Their Natural Activity
Researchers demonstrate method for reviving denatured proteins.
Genes That Protect African Children From Developing Malaria Identified
Variations in DNA at a specific location on the genome that protect African children from developing severe malaria, in some cases nearly halving a child’s chance of developing the life-threatening disease, have been identified in the largest genetic association study of malaria to date.
Messing With The Monsoon
Manmade aerosols can alter rainfall in the world’s most populous region.
Potential Target for Treatment of Autism
Grant of $2.4 million will support further research.
Scientists Decode Structure at Root of Muscular Disease
Researchers at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine have unlocked the structural details of a protein seen as key to treating a neuromuscular disease.
Sniffing Out Cancer
Scientists have been exploring new ways to “smell” signs of cancer by analyzing what’s in patients’ breath.
New Test Detects All Viruses
A new test detects virtually any virus that infects people and animals, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where the technology was developed.
Inroads Against Leukemia
Potential for halting disease in molecule isolated from sea sponges.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos