Cellulases

Cellulases refers to a group of enzymes (endoglucanase, exoglucanase and p-glucosidase) that act together to solubilize cellulose. Cellulase enzymes are used in detergent formulations to remove unwanted pill-like balls of fuzz that form on clothes due to repeated washing and wearing. The endoglucanases (molecular weight ranging from 30 to 100 kDa) are thermostable and active between 55 and 80°C at a pH between 5.0 and 5.5. The exoglucanases (molecular weightt between 40 and 70 kDa) are thermostable glycoproteins that are optimally active between 55 and 75°C. The molecular characteristics of p-glycosidase are variable, with a molecular weight ranging from 45 to 250 kDa and carbohydrate content ranging from 9 to 50%. Except for their thermostability, the molecular characteristics of cellulase components of thermophilic fungi are quite similar to those from mesophilic fungi. T. aurantiacus grown on paper and H. insolens grown on wheat bran are exceptionally good producers of cellulase enzymes.

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