Characterization and Engineering of Seaweed Degrading Enzymes for Biofuels and Biochemicals Production

  • Eva Garcia-Ruiz
  • Ahmet Badur
  • Christopher V. Rao
  • Huimin ZhaoEmail author
Part of the Green Chemistry and Sustainable Technology book series (GCST)


Exploitation of natural sources and increasing concerns of environmental pollution are motivating a growing interest in renewable and sustainable feedstocks for biochemicals and biofuels. Marine macroalgae have many advantages over terrestrial plant biomass, including high carbohydrate content which converts seaweed in a cogent alternative feedstock. Algal carbohydrates show a diverse sugar composition, which implies that specialized enzymatic systems are required for their conversion into biofuels and chemicals. Discovery and characterization of degrading enzymes and assimilating the relevant pathways is a key step in the depolymerization of algal polysaccharides into fermentable sugars and their metabolism by fermenting microorganisms. Current advances in metabolic engineering have generated new microorganisms capable of efficiently metabolizing macroalgal carbohydrates while producing ethanol, the target product. However, more research is required to unlock the full potential of macroalgae biomass as a feedstock for biochemical and biofuels production. This book chapter provides an overview of seaweed polysaccharides properties, degrading enzymes, and their application in the bioconversion of macroalgae into biofuels and biochemicals.


Seaweed degrading enzymes Macroalgal polysaccharides Macroalgal glucans Alginate Biofuels Alginate lyases Agarases Laminarases Glycoside hydrolase 



We thank the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research under Award Number ER65474 for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Garcia-Ruiz
    • 1
  • Ahmet Badur
    • 2
    • 4
  • Christopher V. Rao
    • 2
  • Huimin Zhao
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic BiologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  3. 3.Departments of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and BioengineeringUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  4. 4.IlluminaSan DiegoUSA

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