Researchers from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) have identified an enzyme that can help to break down recalcitrant crystalline polysaccharides such as cellulose and chitin. In a paper in the 8 Oct. issue of the journal Science, the team describes an enzyme that acts on the surface of crystalline chitin, where it introduces chain breaks and generates oxidized chain ends, thus promoting further degradation by chitinases.
Dr. Stephen R. Humphrey, Director,
School of Natural Resources and Environment,
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