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Genencor Introduces New Protease Enzyme for Ethanol Industry

Genencor International, a US-based biotech subsidiary of Danisco A/S, will introduce a new acid fungal protease enzyme product for use in the ethanol industry at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The new FERMGEN protease enzyme promises faster ethanol fermentation rates and yield for corn-, milo- or wheat-based substrates as compared with fermentations without acid fungal protease.

The new enzyme also:

  • Increases essential yeast nutrients in the form of amino acids, peptides and free amino nitrogen;

  • Hydrolyzes protein matrices in the corn kernel that bind the various fractions thereby enabling the hydrolysis of the hard-to-hydrolyze starch; and

  • Is effective at a pH of 3.0 – 4.5, which is complimented by the average current fermentation pH that is employed in the fuel ethanol industry.

Enzyme innovation is an important part of improved industry productivity. Genencor is dedicated to continued innovation for the ethanol industry.

—Brian Carter, Vice President, Genencor

The STARGEN enzymes support a more streamlined production process. Click to enlarge.

Genencor offers a range of enzymes in its STARGEN product family—introduced in June 2005—for different stages in the ethanol production process:

  • A blend of alpha-amylase and glucoamylase enzymes for hydrolyzing uncooked starch.

  • Thermostable alpha-amylase enzymes for the liquefaction of starch at high temperatures.

  • Glucoamylases for the hydrolysis of starch to glucose.

  • Protease enzymes for improved fermentation efficiency.

  • Cellulase and xylanase hydrolyzing enzymes for whole-grain feedstock and biomass processing (cellulosic ethanol).

The STARGEN products allow dry-mill ethanol producers to skip the liquefaction step and combine saccharification and fermentation into one process, improving productivity, reducing energy consumption, delivering higher ethanol yields and reducing overall operating costs.

In 2000, the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) awarded Genencor a $17-million grant to develop low-cost cellulases and other enzymes for the production of cellulosic ethanol. After four years of work, they achieved an estimated cellulase cost in the range of $0.10-$0.20 per gallon of ethanol in NREL’s cost model—an approximate 30-fold improvement in enzyme cost in that model.

In May 2006, Genencor announced it was participating in a research consortium to develop economic ethanol production from paper pulp in cooperation with the French forest products industry. (Earlier post.)



Meet the Press had 3 oil company execs on the show and one of them was very upbeat on the prospects of cellulose ethanol. Now, if we can get them to invest maybe 10% of the $100B in profits in this...

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