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Lena Wohlschlager, MSc

Current position:      PhD Candidate

Project Funding:        OXIDISE

Home University:      BOKU

Duration of Stay:       05/2017-05/2020

Research Project:

Currently, fossil fuels supply 80% of the world’s energy demand and are also the major source for organic bulk and fine chemicals. This harbors tremendous problems for the planet and humanity. Unavoidable, transition to renewable resources for energy and production of goods has to be realized in the near future. Biomass will play a unique role in this transition, since it is the only renewable carbon source - lignocellulosic materials like wood, grass and straw will become the major source for raw materials. However, the recalcitrant nature of lignocellulose causes the deconstruction and fractionation to be a challenging process.

Nature has already developed a variety of biocatalysts for degradation of biomass. Especially wood decaying fungi have evolved to produce a set of highly specialized enzymes acting in a concerted manner to achieve controlled lignocellulose segregation and depolymerization. To be able to utilize these biocatalysts for efficient processing of lignocellulosic biomass, a profound understanding of the complex functions and interactions of the enzymes is essential.

The goal of my research – as part of the ERC Consolidator-grant-funded project OXIDISE - is to determine authentic turnover rates of the major oxidoreductases of white-rot basidiomycete Phanerochaete chrysosporium (such as CDH, LPMO, manganese peroxidase, lignin peroxidase, glyoxal oxidase) in vicinity of their natural lignocellulosic substrates and to resolve their distribution and interaction.

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