Todd Vinzant

Researcher IV-Biological Science


Research Interests

Todd Vinzant is a senior scientist in the Biosciences Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and currently manages the Biomass Surface Characterization Laboratory. The focus of the facility is on the structural characterization of biomass as a function of chemical and enzymatic conversion, which includes the structural characterization of the microorganisms that generate the scarifying enzymes and those responsible for the fermentation of the free sugars. He has 28 years of research experience in biomass conversion and microbial fermentation technologies with expertise in biochemistry, microbiology, microscopy, and laboratory management and design.

Areas of Expertise

  • Structural and chemical characterization of lignocellulosic biomass

  • Characterization of cellulase/xylanase systems

  • Biochemical interactions of glycosylic hydrolases and lignin

  • Integrated lignocellulosic biomass conversion

  • Microbial fermentation

  • General microscopy, especially environmental scanning electron microscopes

  • Laboratory and equipment design and construction


  • M.S., Microbiology, University of Denver, 1990

  • B.S., Biology, Fort Lewis College, 1985

  • B.S., Chemistry, Fort Lewis College, 1985

Professional Experience

  • Manager, Biomass Surface Characterization Laboratory, 2005–present

  • Manager, NREL's Biosciences Center laboratories, 1998present

  • Member, NREL's Biosciences Center, 1987present


  1. "Methods of using thermal tolerant avicelase from Acidothermus cellulolyticus," U.S. Patent No. 7,932,054 (2011)

  2. "Thermal tolerant avicelase from Acidothermus cellulolyticus," U.S. Patent No. 7,538,200 (2009)

  3. "Thermal tolerant avicelase from Acidothermus cellulolyticus," U.S. Patent No. 7,364,890 (2008)

  4. "Cellobiohydrolase I gene and improved variants," U.S. Patent No. 7,375,197 (2008)

  5. "Thermal tolerant exoglucanase from Acidothermus cellulolyticus," U.S. Patent No. 7,393,673 (2008)

  6. "Using liquid desiccant as a regenerable filter for capturing and deactivating contaminants," U.S. Patent No. 7,306,650 (2007)

  7. "Thermal tolerant mannanase from Acidothermus cellulolyticus," U.S. Patent No. 7,112,429 (2006)

  8. "Thermal tolerant cellulase from Acidothermus cellulolyticus," U.S. Patent No. 7,059,993 (2006)

  9. "Alkaline tolerant dextranase from Streptomyces anulatus," U.S. Patent No. 6,509,184 (2003)

Featured Publications

  1. "Investigation of the Role of Lignin in Biphasic Xylan Hydrolysis During Dilute Acid and Organosolv Pretreatment of Corn Stover," Green Chemistry (2015)

  2. "Predicting Enzyme Adsorption to Lignin Films by Calculating Enzyme Surface Hydrophobicity," Journal of Biological Chemistry (2014)

  3. "Effect of Mechanical Disruption on the Effectiveness of Three Reactors Used for Dilute Acid Pretreatment of Corn Stover Part 2: Morphological and Structural Substrate Analysis," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2014)

  4. "Elucidating the Role of Ferrous Ion Cocatalyst in Enhancing Dilute Acid Pretreatment of Lignocellulosic Biomass," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2011)

  5. "In Planta Expression of A. Cellulolyticus Cel5A Endocellulase Reduces Cell Wall Recalcitrance in Tobacco and Maize," Biotechnology for Biofuels (2011)

  6. "Effects of Enzyme Loading and β-glucosidase Supplementation on Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Switchgrass Processed by Leading Pretreatment Technologies," Bioresource Technology (2011)

  7. "Comparative Material Balances Around Pretreatment Technologies for the Conversion of Switchgrass to Soluble Sugars," Bioresource Technology (2011)

  8. "Application of Cellulase and Hemicellulase to Pure Xylan, Pure Cellulose, and Switchgrass Solids from Leading Pretreatments," Bioresource Technology (2011)

  9. "Visualizing Lignin Coalescence and Migration Through Maize Cell Walls Following Thermochemical Pretreatment," Biotechnology and Bioengineering (2008)

  10. "Preservation and Preparation of Lignocellulosic Biomass Samples for Multi-scale Microscopy Analysis," Methods in Molecular Biology (2012)

  11. "The Effect of Lignin Removal by Alkaline Peroxide Pretreatment on the Susceptibility of Corn Stover to Purified Cellulolytic and Xylanolytic Enzymes," Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology (2009)

  12. "Detecting Cellulase Penetration Into Corn Stover Cell Walls by Immuno-Electron Microscopy," Biotechnology and Bioengineering (2009)

  13. "Redistribution of Xylan in Maize Cell Walls During Dilute Acid Pretreatment," Biotechnology and Bioengineering (2009)

  14. "Deposition of Lignin Droplets Produced During Dilute Acid Pretreatment of Maize Stems Retards Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Cellulose," Biotechnology Progress (2007)

View all NREL Publications for Todd Vinzant.