Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a Washington, D.C., law firm providing biobased and renewable chemical product stakeholders unparalleled experience, judgment, and excellence in bringing innovative products to market.

By Lynn L. Bergeson
 
On April 28, 2021, University of York researchers announced the discovery of a new enzyme derived from a fungus called Parascedosporium putredinis NO1, that can act as a catalyst for a biochemical reaction that breaks down forestry and agricultural waste.  The research was done in collaboration with DOE’s Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and the University of Wisconsin.  This development, according to the University of York, could play a key part in upscaling renewable fuels and chemicals.  Professor Neil Bruce explained that this discovery is a breakthrough because, currently, there are no industrial biocatalytic processes for breaking down lignin, which is present in lignocellulose.  This enzyme, however, can break through the lignin to begin the degradation process needed to produce biofuels.  Professor Bruce elaborated that the “treatments with this enzyme can increase the digestibility of lignocellulosic biomass, offering the possibility of producing a valuable product from lignin while decreasing processing costs.”


 

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) supports researchers and companies working on large-scale multidisciplinary research projects in areas of importance to Canadians. As part of this program, NSERC is providing the University of Toronto with $5 million to help launch the Industrial Biocatalysis Network, which will research novel uses of enzymes to produce chemicals, plastics, and other products. This program will be run in collaboration with Concordia University and the University of British Columbia and will support the growth of the biobased chemical and materials sector in Canada.

 

 

On October 29, 2014, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) announced that Appalachian Biofuels LLC will invest about $3.5 million to establish its headquarters and an enzymatic biodiesel production facility in St. Paul, Virginia. The location is expected to create 40 jobs, which will be filled by former coal miners from the town of St. Paul and surrounding areas. Appalachian Biofuels will be refining waste feedstock materials with an enzyme to create biodiesel. The two organizations mainly responsible for offering financial incentives for Appalachian Biofuels to settle in Virginia are the Governor's Opportunity Fund, which provided a $200,000 grant, and the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, which provided a $210,000 grant.


 

On February 28, 2014, global enzyme producer Novozymes announced the launch of a new enzyme solution, LpHera®, that helps make starch conversion more efficient. Starches are used in many consumer products, including sweeteners and soft drinks. Novozymes asserts that LpHera will increase yields, cut chemical usage in half and lead to water and energy savings. The company estimates that the new enzyme could save a starch producer up to $1 per metric ton of substrate. A copy of Novozymes' press release is available online.


 

On November 18, 2013, Novozymes announced that it will "supply enzyme technology to the world's first biomass to glycols bio-refinery to be constructed by M&G Chemicals in China." The biorefinery is expected to begin operations in 2015. A copy of Novozymes' press release is available online.


 

Dyadic International, Inc. (Dyadic) has been issued a U.S. patent covering, among other things, methods of developing and producing novel enzymes, encoding nucleic acid molecules for those enzymes, and methods to convert lignocellulosic biomass into fermentable sugars with enzymes that degrade the lignocellulosic material and novel combinations of enzymes, including those that provide a synergistic release of sugars from plant biomass. Dyadic is a global biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development, manufacture, and sale of enzymes and other proteins for the bioenergy, biobased chemical, biopharmaceutical, and industrial enzyme industries. A copy of the company's press release announcing the new patent may be found online.