The University of Florida is seeking companies interested in commercializing a new laccase enzyme with potential for use in a broad array of industrialized processes, particularly wood pulp, paper and fabric manufacturing. Researchers at the University of Florida have recently discovered a version of laccase in an organism that lives in extreme saline environments, such as the Dead Sea. This new laccase enzyme has a higher catalytic rate and remains stable when faced with harsh environmental conditions. The researchers also discovered a simpler, more cost-effective, way of extracting the enzymes. This new Archaea-based laccase maintains catalytic activity at high temperature and extreme pH, as well as high salt conditions, making it a great candidate for a number of applications where laccases are typically employed. Similarly, the simple extraction and purification offers cheaper and more effective yields for potential manufacturers, making the technology competitive in the market.
Stable laccase enzyme for use in industrial manufacturing
- Maintains stability during extreme heat, salt and pH conditions, providing key advantage in many manufacturing processes
- Simplified extraction and purification process, providing a more cost-effective solution
- Fits a broad range of applications, providing multiple market opportunities
The proposed technology is a new, highly thermostable, salt-tolerant laccase. Originally thought to be restricted to eukaryotes and bacteria, laccases have recently been discovered in Archaea – a group of organisms that often live in extreme environments. The ability of this newly discovered Archaeal laccase to maintain catalytic activity in the harshest of conditions makes it a perfect candidate for many industrial processes. The laccase produced by Haloferax volcanii can also be purified in an active form from extracellular medium and from recombinant E. coli without need for refolding making isolation of the enzyme simpler and less expensive than for many other laccases from other sources. With the identification and characterization of this new laccase from Haloferax volcanii species, scientists at the University of Florida have discovered a new enzyme that will offer improved performance in many applications that require higher temperatures and use of solvents. This opens up new applications for laccases as well as potentially providing a means to improve productivity of existing processes.