In a 2006 report on biomass conversion to biofuels, the U.S. Department of Energy endorsed the view that CBP technology is widely considered the ultimate low-cost configuration for cellulose hydrolysis and fermentation. Our technology is focused on overcoming the key impediment to conversion of cellulose into fuels and chemicals: cost-effectively accessing the chemical building blocks locked in cellulosic materials. Our CBP platform utilizes genetically modified yeast and bacteria to convert cellulosic biomass into high-value end-products in a single step that combines hydrolysis and fermentation.
Typically, biomass conversion processes require a collection of saccharolytic enzymes (cellulases and hemicellulases), which hydrolyze the carbohydrates present in pretreated biomass to sugars, and microorganisms capable of fermenting the liberated sugars into ethanol or other end-products. When the microorganisms both produce the necessary saccharolytic enzymes and ferment the liberated sugars to end-products, the biomass conversion process is called consolidated bioprocessing, or CBP.
CBP requires the development of engineered microorganisms, since naturally occurring microorganisms are not capable of simultaneously making the necessary saccharolytic enzymes and converting the sugars released by those enzymes into the desired end-products. In addition, CBP microorganisms need to be able to perform both of these tasks efficiently and rapidly under challenging, industrial processing conditions. Our scientists have developed robust, industrial microorganisms by combining the best qualities of naturally-occurring microorganisms into a single, industrial biocatalyst. Our CBP microorganisms, which have the ability to produce saccharolytic enzymes, utilize the sugars present in biomass and have been demonstrated to efficiently produce ethanol and other products at high yields, while thriving under industrial conditions.
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