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Present and potential applications of cellulases in agriculture, biotechnology, and bioenergy

Phitsuwan, Paripok, Laohakunjit, Natta, Kerdchoechuen, Orapin, Kyu, Khin Lay, Ratanakhanokchai, Khanok
Folia microbiologica 2013 v.58 no.2 pp. 163-176
agricultural biotechnology, bioenergy, biological control agents, cell walls, cotton, crops, defense mechanisms, disease control, endo-1,4-beta-glucanase, ethanol production, feeds, fungi, genes, growth performance, juices, paper, plant residues, polysaccharides, protective effect, protoplasts, recycling, seed germination, soil, soil fertility, viability, yields
Cellulase (CEL) presently constitutes a major group of industrial enzyme based on its diverse ranges of utilization. Apart from such current and well-established applications—as in cotton processing, paper recycling, detergent formulation, juice extraction, and animal feed additives—their uses in agricultural biotechnology and bioenergy have been exploited. Supplementation of CELs to accelerate decomposition of plant residues in soil results in improved soil fertility. So far, applying CELs/antagonistic cellulolytic fungi to crops has shown to promote plant growth performance, including enhanced seed germination and protective effects. Their actions are believed mainly to trigger plant defense mechanisms and/or to act as biocontrol agents that mediate disease suppression. However, the exact interaction between the enzymes/fungi and plants has not been clearly elucidated. Under mild conditions, removal of plant cell wall polysaccharides by CELs for protoplast preparation results in reduced protoplast damage and increased viability and yields. CELs have recently shown great potential in enzyme aid extraction of bioactive compounds from plant materials before selective extraction through enhancing release of target molecules, especially those associated with the wall matrix. To date, attempts have been made to formulate CEL preparation for cellulosic-based bioethanol production. The high cost of CELs has created a bottleneck, resulting in an uneconomic production process. The utilization of low-cost carbohydrates, strain improvement, and gene manipulations has been alternatively aimed at reducing the cost of CEL production. In this review, we focus on and discuss current knowledge of CELs and their applications in agriculture, biotechnology, and bioenergy.