The subject of this honors thesis focuses on the stability of cellulase in ionic liquids. It was also completed as an undergraduate research requirement. The thesis hypothesizes that cellulase may lose some activity, but would overall remain stable. To test this thesis the activity of a genetically engineered cellulase was measured on a UV-vis spectrometer. A Dinitrosalicylic Acid Reagent solution was prepared to create a color change that would measure the glucose present and therefore measure the activity of the cellulase. Each sample was buffered to a pH of 5 and incubated at fifty degrees Celsius. After an incubation period, the samples were ran with a DNS test and then measured on the spectrometer in a 1:10 dilution. The initial tests demonstrated the activity of cellulase under normal conditions. Tests including pretreatments with Hydrochloric acid and Ammonium Hydroxide were also conducted to test the activity under these conditions. Further tests investigated how the activity changed when ionic liquids were added to the solution. The ionic liquids being investigated were the imidizolium salts 1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium Tetrafluoroborate (BMIM BF2 ) and 1-allyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride (AMIM Cl). The research conducted found that the cellulase would lose activity over time whether or not ionic liquids were present. The presence of 3-methylimidazolium chloride seemed to create greater stability in the enzyme’s activity.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2014


Martin L. Brock

Department/Professional Affiliation


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Degree Name

Honors Scholars