SBIR Phase I: Enzyme Assisted Pulping: Feasibility of using Enzymes to Break Non-Glycosidic Ether Bonds between Xylan and lignin.

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1046844
Agency Tracking Number: 1046844
Amount: $149,996.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Tethys Research LLC
53 Downing Rd, Bangor, ME, 04401-2716
DUNS: 611872388
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Nancy Kravit
 (207) 942-9044
 ngkravit@tethysresearch.com
Business Contact
 Nancy Kravit
Title: PhD
Phone: (207) 942-9044
Email: ngkravit@tethysresearch.com
Research Institution
 Stub
Abstract
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.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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