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Improved Lignocellulose Deconstructing Enzymes

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0021583
Agency Tracking Number: 0000255999
Amount: $256,500.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 34a
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-02-22
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-11-21
Small Business Information
301 1st Street SW, Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011-1921
United States
DUNS: 627132913
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Nikolai Braun
 (434) 220-2504
Business Contact
 Maggie Hudson
Phone: (434) 220-1559
Research Institution

Plant lignocellulosic biomass is rich in complex molecules and is a renewable resource. This makes it an attractive potential source of fuels, chemicals, and products that can supplant the planet’s reliance of fossil fuels. Catalysis of plant biomass into component molecules is both energy intensive, and is currently incompletely accomplished due to the molecular complexities of biomass. Enzymatic catalysis of lignocellulosic biomass has the potential to someday inexpensively and sustainably be used in industrial processes to accomplish complete conversion into component molecules. However, enzymes are currently limited in applicability to accomplishing this task. To address this defined limitation, Luna will be developing optimizations for lignocellulose deconstructing enzymes that will better suit them to efficiently operate in scaled applications. In Phase I Luna will be developing two kinds of innovations into ligninocellulose degrading enzymes. One innovation addresses the costs associated with scaled production and purification of enzymes, and is anticipated that it will drastically reduce the price of enzyme production. The second innovation is related to improving the activity of lignocellulosic enzymes so they can be used with greater efficiency in a bioroduction process. Enzyme catalysis is a powerful low-energy method for performing chemical transformations. The innovations proposed herein can help usher in the circular bioeconomy, but can also be applied in many other areas of commercial industry where enzymes are utilized: textile production, food and feed production, drug manufacture, agriculture inputs, and many more.

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

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