The combination of plant-expressed cellobiohydrolase and low dosages of cellulases for the hydrolysis of sugar cane bagasse

Harrison, Mark D., Zhang, Zhanying, Shand, Kylie, Chong, Barrie Fong, Nichols, Jason, Oeller, Paul, O'Hara, Ian M., Doherty, William O.S., & Dale, James L. (2014) The combination of plant-expressed cellobiohydrolase and low dosages of cellulases for the hydrolysis of sugar cane bagasse. Biotechnology for Biofuels, 7(131).

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The expression of biomass-degrading enzymes (such as cellobiohydrolases) in transgenic plants has the potential to reduce the costs of biomass saccharification by providing a source of enzymes to supplement commercial cellulase mixtures. Cellobiohydrolases are the main enzymes in commercial cellulase mixtures. In the present study, a cellobiohydrolase was expressed in transgenic corn stover leaf and assessed as an additive for two commercial cellulase mixtures for the saccharification of pretreated sugar cane bagasse obtained by different processes.


Recombinant cellobiohydrolase in the senescent leaves of transgenic corn was extracted using a simple buffer with no concentration step. The extract significantly enhanced the performance of Celluclast 1.5 L (a commercial cellulase mixture) by up to fourfold on sugar cane bagasse pretreated at the pilot scale using a dilute sulfuric acid steam explosion process compared to the commercial cellulase mixture on its own. Also, the extracts were able to enhance the performance of Cellic CTec2 (a commercial cellulase mixture) up to fourfold on a range of residues from sugar cane bagasse pretreated at the laboratory (using acidified ethylene carbonate/ethylene glycol, 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride, and ball-milling) and pilot (dilute sodium hydroxide and glycerol/hydrochloric acid steam explosion) scales. We have demonstrated using tap water as a solvent (under conditions that mimic an industrial process) extraction of about 90% recombinant cellobiohydrolase from senescent, transgenic corn stover leaf that had minimal tissue disruption.


The accumulation of recombinant cellobiohydrolase in senescent, transgenic corn stover leaf is a viable strategy to reduce the saccharification cost associated with the production of fermentable sugars from pretreated biomass. We envisage an industrial-scale process in which transgenic plants provide both fibre and biomass-degrading enzymes for pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis, respectively.

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8 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 83210
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Cellulase, Cellobiohydrolase, Transgenic, Sugar cane, Biomass, Pretreatment, Enzymatic hydrolysis, Saccharification
DOI: 10.1186/s13068-014-0131-9
ISSN: 1754-6834
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Harrison et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Deposited On: 09 Apr 2015 00:25
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2017 14:48

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