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:3/30/2017)... The research team of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) ... ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching technology, pushing contactless ... use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security of access and ... ... A research team led by Dr Ajay Kumar ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 ... Biometrics), Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video ... and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by ... in 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 ... 2017 and 2022. The base year considered for the ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric Vehicle ... around 15.1% over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 million ... estimates and forecasts for all the given segments on global as ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2017)... , May 23, 2017 As Ebola resurfaces ... with four deaths and 20 suspected cases now reported, a ... the PubMed database, showed a correlation between the 2014 and ... Replikin counts rose sharply in 2012-13, which preceded the 2014 ... in the Ebola gene Replikin counts in 2014-15, which again ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... 22, 2017 , ... NetDimensions has been ranked as a ... for Corporate Learning, 2017. , Aragon Research defines Leaders as organizations who possess ... against those strategies. NetDimensionsā€™ ranking as a Leader due to its strengths in: ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... San Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... extracellular matrix of polymeric molecules, can cause diverse pathologies ranging from food poisoning and ... economic impact of biofilms is in the tens of billions of dollars per year, ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... Cancer diagnostics and pathology ... B2 at the Association for Pathology Informatics Annual Summit at the ... demonstrating its Cancer Diagnostic Cockpit and Consultation Portal, Inspirata will present research it ...
Breaking Biology Technology: