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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Liquid crystals to model plant cell wall deconstruction

A large number of plant cell wall degrading enzymes has already been identified, but the in-depth study of their mode of action is most often carried out on very diluted systems, far from the systems that enzymes encounter in plants. The implementation of enzymatic conversion processes in dense systems (≥15% w/w) makes it possible to evaluate the impact of the medium density on the specificity and the mode of action of the enzymes.
Cellulose nanocrystals self-assemble into a stable cholesteric liquid crystal that forms a dense and highly organized system. The ANR CLICTEAM project aims to develop a model system in a microfluidic confined environment forming a core-shell structure developed by UMR Gulliver at ESPCI-Paris. Enzymes will be introduced in the liquid crystal shell and tracked to analyze their action. The use of SOLEIL synchrotron radiation (CEA Saclay-CNRS) will provide an experimental device for the characterization of the shell and the enzymes diffusion in the liquid crystal structure.
This project led by the BIA Unit focuses on a major problem in the field of plant cell wall deconstruction. The results of CLICTEAM will be applied in processes where enzymes work in a low hydrated environment, such as in bioethanol production or design of platform biomolecules  for the pharmaceutical, cosmetic or food industries


(a) Cholesteric organization of nanocelluloses, (b) microfluidic system to produce emulsions, (c) core-crown model. 

©Teresa Lopez-Leon

  • Project duration :  4 years, 2019-2022
  • Academic partners:
    • Synchrotron SOLEIL (CEA/ SACLAY-CNRS) Saclay
    • INRA – BIA
  • Total budget : 314 k€