MEDFORD, MASSACHUSETTS - According to data presented by Agrivida scientists today, crops engineered with proprietary enzyme technology can significantly improve pretreatment and hydrolysis costs involved in cellulosic ethanol production, without altering either plant growth or yield, while reducing energy inputs. The data were presented at the Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy in Honolulu.

"Agrivida's engineered crops - which include sorghum, corn cobs, corn stover, switchgrass, and others - and supportive technology can reduce production costs by over 30 percent, and enable decreasing exogenous enzyme loadings by over 75 percent, relative to current industry protocols," said Michael Raab, Ph.D., President of Agrivida.

"Our modification of specific enzyme-based traits, via embedded 'inteins,' will allow acceleration of cell wall degradation (CWD) - ie., hydrolysis - which can then only be activated, post-harvest, upon exposure to heat-induced processing conditions."

Intein-modified enzymes enable vastly more efficient conversion of plant cell walls into fermentable sugars using a proprietary pretreatment method developed by Agrivida. This step typically consumes a significant portion of the energy and enzymes and is a very capital-intensive step required for biofuels production.

"Agrivida, among all biofuels development companies, has a unique focus on lessening both costly 'front end' capital requirements and the enzyme loadings associated with biomass conversion, problems that have slowed commercialization of cellulosic ethanol production," noted Raab.

The Pacific Rim Summit is sponsored by the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

SOURCE: Agrivida News Release