Enzymatic pre-treatment


Interest in producing biofuels from various crop materials is currently increasing. But in order to meet projected energy demands, this type of production would require huge tracts of agricultural land. Thus, attention is turning towards other types of materials, e.g. agricultural wastes, and also towards systems that increase energy yields. One way to increase yields is to degrade complex macromolecules, particularly cellulose, to fermentable components before the ethanol/biogas process. This degradation can be performed in different ways, by acid hydrolysis or by enzymatic treatment. The use of enzymes is more environmentally friendly, but has often been limited by their high cost.

However, the cost in enzymes has decreased several-fold during the last decade, and this pre-treatment technique now attracts interest as a feasible option.


The aim of the MicroDrivE project is to increase the total yield of bio-energy gained from cellulosic biomass, by enzymatic pre-treatment and by producing enzymes with greater functionally efficiency.




Ongoing projects are:

  1. Enzymatic pre-treatment of grains and sugar beets to be used for ethanol production.
  2. Biochemical aspects of the function and structure of cellulose/hemicellulose-degrading enzymes.



Mats Sandberg,
mats.sandgren@molbio.slu.se, tel + 46 (0) 18 4714592
Jerry Ståhlberg,
jerry.stahlberg@molbio.slu.se, tel + 46 (0) 18 4714590

Department of Molecular Biology, SLU, Box 590, 751 24 Uppsala