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(Hyper)thermophilic biocatalysts for second generation biorefineries


*Corresponding author
Institute of Biosciences and BioResources of the National Research Council of Italy
Via P. Castellino 111, 80131, Naples, Italy


In bioeconomy, the development of next generation biorefineries, utilizing energy crops and waste materials, are considered one of the most promising actions toward the sustainable production of fuel and the building blocks for chemicals and polymers with a global market in 2016 of $466.6 billion and a compounded average growth rate of 8.9% between 2016-2021. This complex process is far from being optimized and the application of novel carbohydrate active enzymes justify great expectations. Here we briefly summarise how, for to the advances in (meta)genomics, glycoside hydrolases from (hyper)thermophilic organisms, thanks to their intrinsic stability, can significantly improve lignocellulosic degradation in second generation biorefineries.


Energy is becoming a big issue in our society because of the growing awareness of the finite resources of fossil liquid fuels and the noticeable climate changes resulting from its massive use. Looking for alternative and renewable energies could be the only solution for the sustainable development of our society (1). Among the different type of renewable energy, such as solar, wind, nuclear and electric energy, bioethanol is a major player in the challenge to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Currently, all industrial scale production of ethanol belongs to the first generation of biofuels, but the feedstock competition with human food has led to considerable ethical discussions, normally referred to as the ‘‘food vs fuel’’ debate, with widely diverse and strongly polarized views. Second generation bioethanol production, capturing the attention of many researchers and scientists for its better sustainability, utilizes the non-edible lignocellulosic and starchy materials from agricultural and forestry biomasses (energy crops) and represents a fascinating solution of the food vs fuel problem (2). The global production of ...

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