Microbial Enzymes Attacking Plant Polymeric Materials

  • Mary Mandels
Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series


This symposium is good evidence of the current interest in utilization of renewable resources via fermentation. For substrates, various forms of plant biomass are available in large quantities or may be produced on energy farms. Solar energy is fixed by photosynthesis of green plants initially as small molecules, but these are rarely available in high concentrations or large quantities. Most of the excess over immediate metabolic requirements are rapidly converted into more complex molecules which are utilized by the plants as reserve foods or as structural materials. Most of these are polymers that are awkward to use for chemical or biological processes because they are chemically and physically complex and are attacked only by limited groups of specialized organisms that do not normally produce high levels of fermentations products of commercial interst. Therefore, we would like to convert these polymers back to the more usable monomers. An exception to the above is sucrose, a non-polymeric plant reserve food which is a simple soluble molecule, readily separated from plant juices in a high degree of purity. Not surprisingly, sucrose molasses is the basis for many industrial fermentations, notably the production of ethanol by yeasts.


MANDELS Acid Reserve Food Industrial Fermentation Cellulase System Partial Acid Hydrolysis 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Mandels
    • 1
  1. 1.U. S. Army Natick R&D LaboratoriesNatickUSA

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