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Open Access Review

Endoglucanases: insights into thermostability for biofuel applications

Ragothaman M Yennamalli15, Andrew J Rader26, Adam J Kenny37, Jeffrey D Wolt3 and Taner Z Sen148*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, Iowa State University, Ames 50011, IA, USA

2 Department of Physics, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis 46202, IN, USA

3 Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products and Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames 50011, IA, USA

4 Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Program, Iowa State University, Ames 50011, IA, USA

5 Present Address: Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA

6 Present Address: State Farm Insurance, Indianapolis 46240, IN, USA

7 Present Address: Brownells, Inc, Montezuma, IA 50171, USA

8 1025 Crop Genome Informatics Lab, Iowa State University, Ames 50011, IA, USA

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Biotechnology for Biofuels 2013, 6:136  doi:10.1186/1754-6834-6-136

Published: 27 September 2013

Abstract

Obtaining bioethanol from cellulosic biomass involves numerous steps, among which the enzymatic conversion of the polymer to individual sugar units has been a main focus of the biotechnology industry. Among the cellulases that break down the polymeric cellulose are endoglucanases that act synergistically for subsequent hydrolytic reactions. The endoglucanases that have garnered relatively more attention are those that can withstand high temperatures, i.e., are thermostable. Although our understanding of thermostability in endoglucanases is incomplete, some molecular features that are responsible for increased thermostability have been recently identified. This review focuses on the investigations of endoglucanases and their implications for biofuel applications.

Keywords:
Biofuel; Endoglucanase; Thermostability; Cellulases; Mutant