FROM THE AUTHOR'S PREFACE This book . . . is focused on the structure and function relationships of the four major hydrolytic enzymes, cellulases, cellobiohydrolases, b-glucosidases, and xylanases as it relates to their mechanism of action. It should be of interest to biotechnologists and industrial researchers interested in manipulating these enzymes to their full potential as catalysts for various current and new applications. It begins with an overview of the nature of cellulose and heteroxylan, followed by a description of the enzymes involved in its hydrolysis, their general structure, characteristics, and classification. Chapter 3 discusses how these various enzymes are integrated and associated for the efficient solubilization of cellulose and heteroxylan. This includes a review of the literature concerning the cellulosomes and other cellulolytic complexes. The chapter on production and purification provides an overview of this subject matter. . . . These first four chapters thus set the stage for the more comprehensive discussion of the mechanism of action of each of the primary hydrolases which follows. . . . [T]he data pertaining to the catalytic mechanism of both the retaining and inverting forms of these enzymes since such studies were initiated on cellulases . . . in 1954 is reviewed in Chapter 5. The book concludes with an overview of the mode of action of the enzymes and a discussion, citing a few examples, of how the modern methods of molecular biology, enzymology, and X-ray crystallography are being used to manipulate selected enzymes for a variety of biotechnological and industrial purposes. The information in this new book will be of value to scientists and researchers working in the areas of biochemistry, botany, crop science, ecology, microbiology and mycology, in addition to those in the forestry and forest product industries.