From WikiMD's Wellness Encyclopedia

Cellulase is an enzyme that breaks down cellulose, a polysaccharide that is the primary component of the cell wall in green plants. Cellulase is produced by certain bacteria, fungi, and protozoans that can decompose cellulose.

Structure and Function[edit | edit source]

Cellulase is a complex enzyme that consists of several subunits. Each subunit has a specific function in the breakdown of cellulose. The enzyme works by hydrolyzing the 1,4-beta-D-glycosidic linkages in cellulose, hemicellulose, lichenin, and cereal beta-D-glucans.

Cellulase has a significant role in the natural carbon cycle. By breaking down cellulose, it helps to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is then used by plants in the process of photosynthesis.

Industrial Applications[edit | edit source]

Cellulase has a wide range of industrial applications. It is used in the textile industry for the biopolishing of fabrics, in the food industry for the production of fruit and vegetable juices, and in the biofuel industry for the production of bioethanol from plant waste.

In the biofuel industry, cellulase is used to break down cellulose in plant waste into simple sugars. These sugars can then be fermented into ethanol, a type of biofuel. This process is seen as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, as it uses waste products and produces fewer greenhouse gases.

Medical Applications[edit | edit source]

In medicine, cellulase is used in the treatment of phytobezoars, a type of stomach blockage caused by the consumption of certain types of fruit and vegetables. Cellulase helps to break down the cellulose in the phytobezoar, allowing it to be passed through the digestive system.

Research and Development[edit | edit source]

Research is ongoing into the potential uses of cellulase in various industries. One area of interest is the development of genetically modified organisms that can produce cellulase. This could potentially increase the efficiency of biofuel production and reduce costs.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD