IE’s plant-production system will drastically lower the cost of industrial enzymes. Low cost cellulase will allow the commercialization of a whole range of new biobased products (chemicals & advanced biofuels) by dramatically lowering the cost of breaking down lignocellulosic biomass into fermentable sugar. The current price of cellulase is $6 to $15 per kilogram for applications in the pulp and textile industries, with a global market of $335 million and an annual growth rate of 7‐9 % a year for traditional markets (Freedonia Group, 2007). This market is currently served by companies that use fermentation manufacturing processes. IE’s technology circumvents the need for expensive fermenters. Indeed, because the enzymes are produced in corn germ, the grain grown for ethanol could have a dual use—the starch for ethanol and the germ for oil and enzymes.
The active microbial ingredients in Infinite Enzymes’ formulations are naturally occurring enzymes from beneficial microorganisms. Even though our production system involves the use of genetically engineered plants, our formulations do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) as their active ingredients.
IE-CBHI is only grown in very small plots, between one and five acres. This amount of corn is insignificant when compared to the 96.5 million of acres of corn grown in the US (US Department of Agriculture, 2012). We offer no competition to the food or feed supply. Also, our objective is to utilize all the co-products of the maize plant after extracting our enzymes to be used in other types of industrial applications. Stalks and leaves will be utilized in the cellulosic biofuel industry and the endosperm from seeds will be used in another industrial application.
IE-CBHI is produced from a recombinant corn seed production system. IE’s plant genetic technology enables the production of cellulase enzymes in the embryo (germ) of the corn kernel. Using transgenic corn as a “plant factory” for producing cellulase enzymes, Infinite Enzymes can deliver high-quality, cost-competitive cellulase enzymes on a commercial scale without the capital intensive requirements and environmental costs associated with existing enzyme production through microbial/fungal fermentation processes.
The specific activity of IE-CBHI is 0.13 U/mg. Activity is determined using methyl-umbelliferyl β -D cellobioside (MUC). This plant-produced cellobiohydrolase is >95% pure in our liquid formulation as an ammonium sulfate precipitate.
IE-CBHI or Cellobiohydrolase I is a plant-produced exocellulase (Cel6A; E.C.18.104.22.168) from Hypocrea jecorina. It is an enzyme present in many fungi, but particularly wood rot fungi. It is a monomer of 53 kDa with a catalytic domain and a cellulose binding domain. Its reaction adds water to the glucose bonds in cellulose (non-reducing ends of the chain), yielding cellobiose.
Infinite Enzymes is a plant biotechnology company utilizing traditional crops such as corn to create new, high value products. IE’s technology produces industrial enzymes in corn grain, reducing the cost of enzymes by being produced as a co-product in corn fractionation/corn ethanol production. The Company is purifying its enzymes for use as research reagents and exploring other value‐added applications in biobased products such as pulp treatments. IE’s main industrial enzyme is an exocellulase, CBHI, but other enzymes such as E1 endocellulase and ligninases are in the pipeline.