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How fungi degrade crystalline cellulose


Daniel Kracher, Alfons Felice, Stefan Scheiblbrandner, Erik Breslmayr

Ninety percent of wood-rotting fungi contain lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs). These powerful enzymes break otherwise inaccessible cellulose surfaces in an oxygen-dependent reaction and initiate their degradation by other enzymes. Such oxidative cellulose degradation greatly contributes to the overall wood-degrading capabilities of fungi and holds great potential to improve the efficiency of commercial enzyme mixtures used for biofuel production. We use biochemical and genomic data to shed light on the activation of LPMOs. This involves either the partner enzyme cellobiose dehydrogenase (1), which directly reduces LPMO, or small redox-active metabolites (2), which can be efficiently recycled by other fungal oxidoreductases (3). Such versatility helps degrader fungi adapt to a range of environmental conditions and is fundamental to fungal physiology.


  • Kracher, D. and Scheiblbrandner, S. et al., 2016. Science, 352: 1098-1101.
  • Tan, T.-C. and Kracher, D. et al., 2015. Nature Communications, 6: 7542.
  • Kracher, D. et al., FEBS Journal, 282: 3136–3148.
  • Sygmund, C. and Kracher, D. et al., 2012. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78: 6161–6171.

Figure from Kracher et al., Science (2016); 352: 1098-1101

Current Funding:

European Commission, FP7 People
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European Commission, FP7
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Austria Wirtschafts Service
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Finished Funding:

Accent Gründerservice GmbH
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Boku-AIT-NTU Int. Graduate School
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Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB)
Lactose biosensor project
Research Centre Applied Biocatalysis
Austrian Academy of Sciences
European Commision, FP7
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Austrian Science Fund
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Novel laccases for biosensors
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Project list:

2013 BIOENERGY, European Commission, FP7 People 4 years
2013 INDOX, European Commission, FP7 3 years
2013 Preseed financing from AWS for DirectSens GmbH 2 years
2012 Preseed financing from Accent for DirectSens GmbH 1 years
2012 Engineering of bioelement interfaces, BOKU-AIT-NTU Int. Graduate School 3 years
2011 3rd generation glucose biosensor, funding agency: Tecnet 1 years
2010 Applied research project, Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB) 5 years
2009 Lactose biosensor project, Research Centre Applied Biocatalysis 6 months
2009 Direct electron transfer of redox enzymes, Austrian Academy of Sciences 2 years
2009 3D-nanobiodevices, European Commission, FP7 3 years
2007 Glucose biosensor, Austrian Science Fund 3 years
2006 Novel laccases for biosensors, Research Centre Applied Biocatalysis 3 years