Cellulose microfibrils with an electron diffraction pattern characteristic of crystalline native cellulose·I have been assembled abiotically by means of a cellulase- catalyzed polymerization of P-cellobiosyl fluoride substrate monomer in acetonitrile/acetate buffer. Substantial purification of the Trichoderma viride cellulase enzyme was found to be essential for the formation of the synthetic cellulose I allomorph. Assembly of synthetic cellulose I appears to be a result of a micellar aggregation of the partially purified enzyme and the substrate in an organic/aqueous solvent system favoring the alignment of glucan-chains with the same polarity and extended chain conformation, resulting in crystallization to form the metastable cellulose I allomorph.
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