Heat-loving enzymes could be boon for biofuels

Not many things like to live in boiling hot geothermal pools, but a recently discovered enzyme’s heat-loving metabolism could help build biofuels.

The microbe’s cellulose-digesting enzyme, called a cellulase, is most active at a record 109 degrees Celsius, significantly above the 100℃ (212℉) boiling point of water.

“Our hope is that this example and examples from other organisms found in extreme environments—such as high-temperature, highly alkaline or acidic, or high salt environments—can provide cellulases that will show improved function under conditions typically found in industrial applications, including the production of biofuels,” researchers said.

Read more at Nature Communications