Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Energy-Efficient Enzyme Modification for Wood Industry(ST5016-1)

SUNY College of Environmental Science an


Traditional methods for bleaching kraft paper use chlorinated compounds. Enzyme biocatalysis could replace chlorine bleaching. Specifically, the enzymes laccase and xylanase could be combined to optimize chlorine-free biobleaching. In addition, laccase could be used in standard bleaching operations to reduce the toxicity and color of waste streams, or in future biochemical plants to improve the conversion of wood to value-added products. Specific laccase and xylanase enzymes have been identified and purified, and their usefulness in delignification, biobleaching, bioremediation, and bioconversion has been demonstrated.

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Project Description

The goal of the project was to develop laccase and xylanase for use in the paper and wood industries. To help fully commercialize these enzymes, some properties and processes were further optimized.


Improved enzymes could optimize chlorine free bleaching and minimize the environmental impact of pulp wastewater, leading to cheaper, cleaner, and more energy efficient pulp for New York State mills. Commercially available and economical laccase and xylanase would have a wide variety of uses. In addition to the energy savings and lowered chemical usage, enzymatic bleaching has been reported to improve tear strength of the paper by 14 17%.

Project Results

Researchers: (1) combined laccase and xylanase from two previously identified strains of microorganisms; (2) chemically modified laccase and xylanase to improve properties; (3) quantified chlorophenolic and chlorolignin removal from pulp mill waste streams; (4) improved biodelignification/biopulping, bioconversion, and biobleaching at the bench scale; and (5) made recommendations for technology transfer.


SUNY College of Environmental Science an
One Forestry Dr Attn: Cashier - 102 Bray Hall
Syracuse, NY 13210

Principle Investigator

James Nakas

Universities Involved

SUNY College of Environmental Science an


Project Type:

Indigenous/Renewable Energy Resources

Technologies Types:

NYSERDA Contact Information

Judy Jarnefeld


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST5016-1

Last Updated: 3/5/2014 2