Navigation Links
Lignin-feasting microbe holds promise for biofuels
Date:11/13/2013

Nature designed lignin, the tough woody polymer in the walls of plant cells, to bind and protect the cellulose sugars that plants use for energy. For this reason, lignin is a major challenge for those who would extract those same plant sugars and use them to make advanced biofuels. As part of their search for economic ways to overcome the lignin challenge, researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have characterized the enzymatic activity of a rain forest microbe that breaks down lignin essentially by breathing it.

"Using a combination of transcriptomics and proteomics we observed the anaerobe Enterobacter lignolyticus SCF1 as it grows on lignin," says Blake Simmons, a chemical engineer who heads JBEI's Deconstruction Division. "We detected significant lignin degradation over time by absorbance, suggesting that enzymes in E. lignolyticus could be used to deconstruct lignin and improve biofuels production. Our results also demonstrate the value of a multi-omics approach for providing insight into the natural processes of bacterial lignin decomposition."

Not only does lignin inhibit access to cellulose, the by-products of lignin degradation can also be toxic to microbes employed to ferment sugars into fuels. This makes finding microbes that can tolerate a lignin environment a priority for biofuels research. Tropical rainforests harbor anaerobic microbes that actually utilize lignin as their sole source of carbon. Kristen DeAngelis, a microbial ecologist formerly of JBEI and now with the University of Massachusetts, has led expeditions to the Luquillo Experimental Forest where she and her crew harvested soil microbes.

"Tropical soil microbes are responsible for the nearly complete decomposition of leaf plant litter in as little as eighteen months," she says. "The fast growth, high efficiency and specificity of enzymes employed in the anaerobic litter deconstruction carried out by these tropical soil bacteria make them useful templates for improving biofuel production."

In an earlier study at JBEI led by DeAngelis, E. lignolyticus SCF1 is a member, was shown to be capable of anaerobic lignin degradation, but the enzymes behind this degradation were unknown. Through their multi-omics approach plus measurements of enzyme activities, DeAngelis, Simmons and their colleagues were able to characterize the mechanisms by which E. lignolyticus SCF1 is able to degrade lignin during anaerobic growth conditions.

"We found that E. lignolyticus SCF1 is capable of degrading 56-percent of the lignin under anaerobic conditions within 48 hours, with increased cell abundance in lignin-amended compared to unamended growth," Simmons says. "Proteomics analysis enabled us to identify 229 proteins that were significantly differentially abundant between the lignin-amended and unamended growth conditions. Of these, 127 proteins were at least two-fold up-regulated in the presence of lignin."

This new study also showed that E. lignolyticus SCF1 is able to degrade lignin via both assimilatory and dissimilatory pathways, the first soil bacterium to demonstrate this dual capability.

"Our next step is to look at what kind of chemical bonds are preferred by these two different pathways of reduction," DeAngelis says. "We can then try to develop tailored routes to targeted intermediates by defining the molecular mechanisms of enzymatic reactions with lignin."


'/>"/>

Contact: Lynn Yarris
lcyarris@lbl.gov
510-486-5375
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Montana State team overcomes challenges, proves that microbes swim to hydrogen gas
2. UNH, UC Davis launch network to study environmental microbes
3. Network to study environmental microbes
4. Microbes in the gut help determine risk of tumors
5. Penn researchers identify molecular link between gut microbes and intestinal health
6. Gut microbes closely linked to proper immune function, other health issues
7. Toxic methylmercury-producing microbes more widespread than realized
8. Scientists discover thriving colonies of microbes in ocean plastisphere
9. New palm-sized microarray technique grows 1,200 individual cultures of microbes
10. Engineered microbes grow in the dark
11. Microbes capture, store, and release nitrogen to feed reef-building coral
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Lignin-feasting microbe holds promise for biofuels
(Date:4/15/2016)... 2016  A new partnership announced today will ... decisions in a fraction of the time it ... high-value life insurance policies to consumers without requiring ... Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and HIV) ... pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) available ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... -- Genomics firm Nabsys has completed a financial  restructuring under ... M.D., who returned to the company in October 2015. ... including Chief Technology Officer, John Oliver , Ph.D., ... Vice President of Software and Informatics, Michael Kaiser ... Bready served as CEO of Nabsys from 2005-2014 and ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... 22, 2016 Unique technology ... for superior security   Xura, ... of secure digital communications services, today announced it is ... offer enterprise customers, particularly those in the Financial Services ... voice authentication within a mobile app, alongside, and in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Lady had been battling arthritis ... cruciate ligament in her left knee. Lady’s owner Hannah sought the help of Dr ... veterinary surgeon, to repair her cruciate ligament and help with the pain of Lady’s ...
(Date:5/24/2016)...   MedyMatch Technology Ltd ., the data analytics healthcare ... support tools in the emergency room, announced today that it ... Technology Industries (IATI) BioMed Conference. The Conference ... National Life Sciences and Technology Week, and is being held ... Tel Aviv, Israel . Gene Saragnese ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... Antonio, Texas (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2016 , ... The need for blood donations ... released this week by the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, blood donations are on ... than 30 years, and they are down 21 percent in South Texas in the last ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... May 23, 2016 Oxitec CEO ... at 10:15 a.m. ET before the United States House ... engineered mosquitos can play in controlling the spread of the ... Zika virus.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150630/227348 ) ... with a self-limiting gene. Trials in Brazil ...
Breaking Biology Technology: