Undefined Cellulase Formulations Hinder Scientific Reproducibility

Steve Decker, Michael Himmel, Yannick Bomble, Roman Brunecky, Xiaowen Chen, Charles Abbas, edward Bayer, Claus Felby, Tina Jeoh, Rajeev Kumar, Barry McCleary, Brett Pletschke, Charles Wyman, John Baker, Melvin Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus Citations


In the shadow of a burgeoning biomass-to-fuels industry, biological conversion of lignocellulose to fermentable sugars in a cost-effective manner is key to the success of second-generation and advanced biofuel production. For the effective comparison of one cellulase preparation to another, cellulase assays are typically carried out with one or more engineered cellulase formulations or natural exoproteomes of known performance serving as positive controls. When these formulations have unknown composition, as is the case with several widely used commercial products, it becomes impossible to compare or reproduce work done today to work done in the future, where, for example, such preparations may not be available. Therefore, being a critical tenet of science publishing, experimental reproducibility is endangered by the continued use of these undisclosed products. We propose the introduction of standard procedures and materials to produce specific and reproducible cellulase formulations. These formulations are to serve as yardsticks to measure improvements and performance of new cellulase formulations.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number283
Number of pages4
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-70611


  • Assays
  • Biofuels
  • Cellulase
  • Cellulose
  • Commercial cellulase formulations


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