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Codexis introduces next-generation Codexyme cellulase enzymes with improved performance for reduced costs

Codexis has delivered significant improvements in enzyme performance (left) and enzyme manufacturing cost (right). Source: Codexis. Click to enlarge.

Codexis, Inc., a developer of engineered enzymes for pharmaceutical, biofuel and chemical production, launched CodeXyme 4 and CodeXyme 4X cellulase enzyme packages for use in producing cellulosic sugar for production of biofuels and bio-based chemicals.

Codexis’ latest generation of advanced cellulase enzymes, CodeXyme 4 for dilute acid pretreatments and CodeXyme 4X for hydrothermal pretreatments, converts up to 85% of available fermentable sugars at high biomass and low enzyme loads. Combined with high strain productivity using the CodeXporter enzyme production system, this allows for a cost-in-use that the company believes will be among the lowest available once in full-scale commercial production.

CodeXyme 4 increases performance 10-20% over Codexis’ last-generation product, CodeXyme 3, measured by the amount of glucan converted into C6 fermentable sugar. For pre-treatments with unconverted xylan, CodeXyme 4X maintains the same high C6 sugar activity while having additional C5 sugar conversion.

During the past several months, CodeXyme cellulase has been tested on a variety of feedstocks and pre-treatments, including corn stover, corn cobs, sugarcane bagasse, cane straw, wheat straw and rice straw. In all cases, CodeXyme 4 and 4X have been found to convert 75 – 85% of glucan and xylan into C6 and C5 sugars, at 10 – 15g enzyme per kg of glucan. With consistently high sugar conversion, customers are able to convert more sugar into high-value biofuels and bio-based chemicals.

Comparison of CodeXyme 3 (green bars) (2011) with 4 2009-2010 enzyme packages from competitors in NREL tests. Codexis added the red diamond to indicate CodeXyme 4 performance. Source: Codexis. Click to enlarge.

In independent third-party tests with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado and Chemical Engineering Research Consultants in Toronto, Canada, CodeXyme cellulase performed comparably or better than other leading enzymes. The studies compared the conversion of glucan to C6 sugars on dilute-acid pre-treated corn stover, using leading commercial enzyme products at their optimal pH and temperature. CodeXyme 3 (Codexis’ cellulase enzyme from 2011) was found to convert the same or more glucan at the same enzyme load as competing cellulase packages, and CodeXyme 4 fared even better against the latest alternative commercial enzymes.

Codexis has sold CodeXyme 4 and 4X to more than a dozen potential partners and customers at lab and pilot scale. CodeXyme cellulase has been used successfully to hydrolyze biomass pre-treated with both acid-based and hydrothermal methods, as well as in sequential and simultaneous hydrolysis and fermentation.

Codexis plans to scale up its novel CodeXyme 4X cellulase strain at commercial scale in the second quarter of this year. CodeXyme 4X cellulase will also be used in pilot production of bio-based CodeXol detergent alcohols in collaboration with Chemtex in Rivalta, Italy by mid-year.


  • McMillan, J. D.; Jennings, E. W; Mohagheghi, A.; Zuccarello, M. (2011) Comparative Performance of Precommercial Cellulases Hydrolyzing Pretreated Corn Stover. Biotechnology for Biofuels. Vol. 4 doi: 10.1186/1754-6834-4-29


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