Efficient Production of Cellulase Enzymes Using Transient Agroinfiltration

Tech ID: 31825 / UC Case 2009-109-2


Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a method to produce cellulase enzymes by utilizing agroinfiltration to transiently express full-length cellulases in plant tissue.

Full Description

Cellulosic biomass is a potential source of glucose, which can then be fermented into products such as foods or beverages, bioethanol and bulk or specialty chemicals. However, a synergistic set of enzymes is needed to degrade cellulose into glucose. Typically, these enzymes are produced by fungal cell culture – a process that normally generates significant amounts of CO2 as a byproduct and has high capital costs. Thus, there is a need for an alternate, more efficient, system of enzyme production that consumes less energy at lower total costs and results in a lower overall carbon footprint.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a method by which cellulase enzymes may be produced in a non-transgenic plant host using agroinfiltration of harvested plant tissue. This method has demonstrated that the detached, harvested tissue can produce a similar enzyme output as would be produced by intact plants. Enzyme production is monitored over time as intact plants and harvested leaves are stored in different environments. This proven process is more cost-effective and has a lower environmental impact than existing enzyme production methods. 


  •         Production of glucose feedstock from cellulose-containing materials
  •         Potential method for more environmentally-benign production of beverages, laundry detergents and other cleaning agents, pulp and paper, bulk and specialty chemicals, and other materials



  •         Lower capital costs compared to fungal cell culture processes for enzyme production
  •         Less energy expenditure, with resulting lower carbon dioxide emissions


Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 8,674,178 03/18/2014 2009-109


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  • Dandekar, Abhaya M.
  • Falk, Bryce W.
  • Lindenmuth, Benjamin E.
  • McDonald, Karen A.

Other Information


Cellulase enzyme production, agroinfiltration, Cellulosic biomass conversion

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