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Structural and biochemical studies of Saccharum officinarum glycosil hydrolases involved in arabinoxylan degradation in the aerenchyma formation process

Grant number: 23/13115-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2024
Effective date (End): January 31, 2028
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry - Enzymology
Principal Investigator:Igor Polikarpov
Grantee:Caio Cesar de Mello Capetti
Host Institution: Instituto de Física de São Carlos (IFSC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:21/08780-1 - Enzymatic degradation of microbial biofilm exopolisacharides: structural biophysics, molecular biotechnology and synthetic biochemistry of CAZymes in search for new enzymatic tools for antimicrobial treatments, AP.TEM


In a context in which environmental problems, such as air pollution and the potential scarcity of energy sources, are gaining ground in global administrative discussions, the valorization of lignocellulosic biomass, in light of the concept of biorefinery, is a mechanism that the agroindustry resorts to to generate profitable and clean energy alternatives. From the cellulosic fraction of materials such as sugarcane bagasse, cellulosic ethanol, a renewable fuel in high demand, can be produced, while from hemicellulose, prebiotic oligosaccharides can be produced. The state of the art in the deconstruction of lignocellulosic materials involves an enzymatic hydrolysis step, and most of the enzymes described in the literature for this purpose are of bacterial or fungal origin, with few plant targets explored, although glycosyl hydrolases have been identified in natural processes. of cell death and hydrolysis of the cell wall for the formation of aerenchyma in the sugarcane root. We developed the hypothesis that some of these enzymes have a high affinity for sugarcane arabinoxylan and, in this context, this project proposes to produce, characterize and evaluate the biotechnological application of enzymatic targets, which are involved in the natural degradation process from hemicellulose from the cell wall of sugarcane, aiming to obtain high-efficiency biotechnological tools, which can be used both to valorize biomass, through high-value-added products, and to improve enzyme cocktails. It is important to emphasize that plant enzymes have been much less studied from a molecular, structural and enzymatic point of view until now than enzymes of bacterial or fungal origin and may represent an important source of knowledge on the degradation of biopolymers from plants themselves, such as arabinoxylan.

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