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Plant cell wall composition and enzymatic deconstruction

Laboratory of Plant Biochemistry, Department of Biochemistry, State University of Maringá, PR, Brazil

† These authors contributed equally to this work.

Topical Section: Bioconversion for Renewable Energy and Biomaterials

Cellulosic ethanol is one the most prominent technologies capable of replacing the use of fossil fuels in an observable horizon of technological development. The complexity of plant biomass, however, continues to challenge our ability to convert it into biofuels efficiently. Highly complex and cross-linked polysaccharides, hydrophobic and protein adsorbent polymers, and crystalline supramolecular structures comprise some of the structures that shield the plant cell contents (and the shield structures themselves) against predators. In response, a sophisticated enzymatic weaponry, with its associated chemical and physical mechanisms, is necessary to overcome this recalcitrance. Here we describe basic information about chemical composition of lignocellulosic biomass and the enzymatic arsenal for lignocellulose deconstruction into fermentable sugars.
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