One of the biggest challenges today is the enzymatic saccharification of cellulose present in agro-industrial waste, with good yield and low cost, aiming at the production of chemical derivatives, especially bioethanol, at competitive prices. However, the success of enzymatic bioconversion of lignocellulosic biomass has been limited by the need for efficient abiotic pre-treatments of the raw material and the high cost associated with the production of enzymes involved in the process. Since native enzymes do not have all the desirable characteristics to perform under the conditions imposed on biotechnological processes, protein engineering can contribute to the creation of new enzymes with improved properties and desired catalytic characteristics. In this project, we intend to engineer an enzyme already well studied and which gathers much of the desirable characteristics to make efficient enzymatic cocktails for hydrolysis of biomass. We intend to modulate the thermostability of the enzyme by altering and characterizing its carbohydrate content. The intended results may help to clarify the factors that affect protein thermostabilization, a highly desirable characteristic for biocatalysts.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: