USA flag logo/image

An Official Website of the United States Government

SBIR Phase I: Enzyme Assisted Pulping: Feasibility of using Enzymes to Break…

Award Information

National Science Foundation
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Tethys Research, Llc
53 Downing Rd Bangor, ME 04401-2716
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: Yes
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: SBIR Phase I: Enzyme Assisted Pulping: Feasibility of using Enzymes to Break Non-Glycosidic Ether Bonds between Xylan and lignin.
Agency: NSF
Contract: 1046844
Award Amount: $149,996.00


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project helps unlock the potential of forests to provide sustainable, carbon-neutral raw material for much of the nation?s energy needs. Tethys will search for enzymes specific for ether bonds between lignin and the hardwood hemicellulose, xylan. A fluorogenic model of xylan-lignin ether bonds will be synthesized that fluoresces when the xylan-lignin ether bond is broken. It will be used to bioprospect for xylan lignin etherase (XLE) activity in culture collections and sites of hardwood decay in Maine forests. Putative positives will be tested for autofluorescence, XLE solubility, and XLE cofactor requirement. Results of this project will advance understanding of etherase enzymatic mechanisms, increase knowledge about the chemistry of sugar-lignin ether bonds, and contribute to the understanding of wood decay. The broader/commercial impacts of this research are two-fold. First, development of a novel, environmentally friendly process for pulp products becomes possible. The new process will also create new feedstocks for biofuels and platform chemicals. Second, the development of the new method means that (i) wood can be used to meet a significant portion of America?s energy needs; (ii) corn slated for ethanol production can be directed to food products; (iii) energy and industrial chemicals used in pulp and paper mills will be reduced and (iv) America?s pulp and paper industry (and the rural towns where mills are located) will receive a much needed economic boost from reduced costs and increased revenues from valuable new products.

Principal Investigator:

Nancy G. Kravit

Business Contact:

Nancy G. Kravit
Small Business Information at Submission:

Tethys Research LLC
53 Downing Rd Bangor, ME 04401-2716

EIN/Tax ID: 392007723
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: Yes
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: Yes