Navigation Links
Novel enzyme from tiny gribble could prove a boon for biofuels research
Date:6/18/2013

Researchers from the United Kingdom, the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the University of Kentucky have recently published a paper describing a novel cellulose-degrading enzyme from a marine wood borer Limnoria quadripunctata, commonly known as the gribble.

Gribbles are biologically intriguing because they exhibit a relatively unique ability to produce their own enzymes instead of using symbiotic microbes to break down the biomass they eat. New biomass-degrading enzymes from novel sources such as the gribble may prove beneficial to the biofuels industry.

Gribbles are 1-3 millimeters in length, but collectively they bore through wood quickly, and are responsible for significant natural and man-made marine timber damage around the world. Scientists at Universities of Portsmouth and York in the United Kingdom and the University of Kentucky in the United States, with researchers from NREL, are hoping to turn that special talent into a source of novel enzymes for the biofuels industry.

A paper describing the crystal structure of a key enzyme produced by the gribble appears online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/05/31/1301502110.short

Gribbles live in inter-tidal zones and, similar to termites, they burrow into wood. Gribbles, unlike termites or many other animals including people, do not rely on gut bacteria to make enzymes to aid their digestion. Gribbles instead exhibit a sterile gut, and secrete their own enzymes into their guts made in a special organ termed the heptopancreas that runs the entire length of their body.

Interestingly, several of the enzymes produced by gribbles are in the same important enzyme classes that are typically harvested from fungi in the biosphere for industrially deconstructing the cellulose in biomass. The gribble enzymes hold promise of tolerating salts much better, likely due to the fact they evolved in a marine environment. This unique adaptation may have beneficial implications for the ability of the gribble enzymes to more efficiently operate in a high-solids, industrial environment, breaking biomass down more effectively into sugars, which can then be converted into ethanol or a hydrocarbon fuel to replace gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel.

The biofuels industry needs tough, efficient enzymes that are tolerant of industrial processes. "For biochemical conversion with enzymes, industry needs to push up to very high solids, with very little water around," NREL Senior Scientist Gregg Beckham, one of the co-authors, said. "The structure of the gribble enzyme reveals new evolutionary adaptations that may suggest mechanisms for producing more robust, industrial enzymes for high-solids loadings environments."

NREL ran computer simulations and aided in the structural and biochemical analysis of the enzyme.

The work leading to the paper provided deeper understanding of how the organism adapts and survives. NREL and UK scientists are now examining how features of the gribble enzymes could be incorporated into industrially relevant enzymes and settings.


'/>"/>

Contact: David Glickson
david.glickson@nrel.gov
303-275-4097
DOE/National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Novel biomarkers improve diagnosis in rheumatoid arthritis
2. Patent awarded today to NJIT for novel use of water jets to create high tensile strength alloy parts
3. U of M researchers find novel gene correction model for epidermolysis bullosa
4. University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers find potential novel treatment for influenza
5. Novel screening tests for liver cancer
6. BUSM study reveals novel mechanism by which UVA contributes to photoaging of skin
7. Novel therapeutic approaches to cure chronic HBV infection
8. Development of novel therapies for endothelial damage may heal atherosclerotic plaques
9. Middle-schoolers discover novel chemical bond
10. A novel surface marker helps scientists fish out mammary gland stem cells
11. BUSM researchers identify novel approach to study COPD and treatment efficacy
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/11/2016)... Calif. , Feb. 11, 2016  Vigilant Solutions announces ... LPR data are being used by Lee,s Summit ... including the recent location and arrest of a homicide suspect. ... Summit covers around 65 square miles and is ... Police Department has a single mobile license plate reader ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... Czech Republic , February 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... EU-regulated global payment platform which presents innovation for ... Biometrics Authentication feature called VoiceKey. --> ... platform which presents innovation for clients, comfort and ... called VoiceKey. --> Worldcore ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... --> --> ... Fingerprint Identification System Market by Component (Hardware and Software), ... Finance, Government, Healthcare, and Transportation) and Geography - Global ... expected to be worth USD 8.49 Billion by 2020 ... 2020. The transformation and technology evolution from the manual ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... HILDEN , Germany and ... QGEN ; Frankfurt Prime Standard: ... new QIAseq Targeted RNA Panels for gene expression profiling, ... next-generation sequencing (NGS). The panels enable researchers to select ... expression fold changes and discover interactions between genes, cellular ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... cutting-edge information focused on the development and manufacture of biopharmaceuticals and therapeutics, ... sponsor of the 2016 BioProcess International Awards – Recognizing Excellence in the ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... than 150 years, continues today to pursue the highest level of accuracy and ... instruments: the AR9 Refractometer and the AR5 Refractometer. Accurate, reliable and tough ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Early-career researchers from Indonesia , ... and Yemen honored ... Indonesia , Nepal , Peru ... are being honored for their accomplishments in nutrition, psychiatry, biotechnology, women,s health, ... scientists who are pursuing careers in agriculture, biology and medicine in their ...
Breaking Biology Technology: