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30a An Innovative Technology for Cost-effective Enzymatic Lignocellulose Deconstruction using In-planta Enzyme Engineering

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0022382
Agency Tracking Number: 0000262848
Amount: $249,998.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C53-30a
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-02-14
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-02-13
Small Business Information
8600 E Pleasant Valley RD
Independence, OH 44131-5515
United States
DUNS: 606604580
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Xumeng Ge
 (870) 761-5288
Business Contact
 Xumeng Ge
Phone: (870) 761-5288
Research Institution

The Department of Energy is interested in technologies that support the sustainable production of fuels, chemicals, and other bioproducts from plant biomass, to offset the nation’s reliance on fossil resources. The plant cell wall of energy crops provides the largest reservoir of raw materials for bioproducts. However, the widespread use of plant cell walls is hampered by their complexity and resistance to breakdown. To improve the productivity and cost-effectiveness of using energy crops to generate bioproducts, the fundamental problem of deconstructing plant cell walls must be addressed. In response to Topic 30a, this project will develop and evaluate an innovative genetic modification technology to produce strategically designed enzymes that specifically accumulate in the plant cell wall. The resulting enzyme-engineered energy crops are expected to grow normally under natural conditions but break down more quickly and easily under high temperature during the production of biobased products. As such, this plant cell wall targeting enzyme engineering effort will reduce the cost of plant cell wall deconstruction and ultimately improve the economics of bioproducts. The overall objective of this Phase I project is to develop and evaluate the enzyme engineering technology within energy crops. The concept will first be validated using tobacco plant, a model plant system that is typically used in lab testing for initial concept validation. Then the enzyme optimization will be validated using switchgrass, the energy crop to be used to produce bioproducts. This new enzyme optimization approach will be beneficial for bioindustries that use energy crops as feedstocks. It will improve the economic viability of converting energy crops to renewable products that support a sustainable society and helps address the Nation’s long-term strategic needs for renewable products and reduction of reliance on fossil resources.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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