An international team of researchers, including scientists from the University of York, has discovered a set of enzymes found in fungi that are capable of breaking down one of the main components of wood.
The enzymes could now potentially be used to sustainably convert wood biomass into valuable chemical commodities such as biofuels.
As an alternative to coal and oil, wood is increasingly one of the more promising sources of advanced biofuels. However, despite its potential, it is a difficult material to breakdown.
Current wood biorefineries have to use pre-treatment processes, making the conversion of wood into fuels and products expensive and energy-consuming.
Read more at University of York
Image: An overall three dimensional structure of one of this class of enzymes. (Credit: Professor Gideon Davies, University of York)