Gallery: Enzyme Discovered in the Great Salt Lake Could Unlock Non-Food...


Researchers working with the US Department of Energy recently isolated a salt-tolerant enzyme from the Great Salt Lake that they say is the missing piece in the biofuel refining process. The team of researchers has been working with ionic liquids, which are liquid forms of salt, to effectively break down the lignin in non-food derived biofuel — or lignocellulosic biomass — which is generally made up of agriculture waste, corn husks, sugar cane, pine needles, and other inedible plant matter. Until now, ionic liquids have been efficient at breaking down lignin in the plant matter but they were unable to unlock the sugars needed to produce biofuel – this new Great Salt Lake enzyme may well serve as the missing piece in the puzzle.

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1 Comment

  1. anothervoice July 12, 2011 at 11:10 am

    “This is one of the only reports of salt-tolerant cellulases, and the only one that represents a true ‘genome-to-function’ relevant to ionic liquids from a halophilic environment…”

    Don’t you just love science?

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