Navigation Links
Seafarers' scourge provides hope for biofuel future
Date:3/8/2010

For centuries, seafarers were plagued by wood-eating gribble that destroyed their ships, and these creatures continue to wreak damage on wooden piers and docks in coastal communities.

But new research by scientists at the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre at the Universities of York and Portsmouth is uncovering how the tiny marine isopod digests the apparently indigestible.

By examining genes that are expressed in the guts of gribble, the researchers have demonstrated that its digestive system contains enzymes which could hold the key to converting wood and straw into liquid biofuels.

In research published today, a team headed by Professor Simon McQueen-Mason and Professor Neil Bruce at York, and Dr Simon Cragg at Portsmouth reveal that the gribble digestive tract is dominated by enzymes that attack the polymers that make up wood. One of the most abundant enzymes is a cellulose degrading enzyme never before seen in animals.

The research is published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS).

Unlike termites and other wood-eating animals, gribble have no helpful microbes in their digestive system. This means that they must possess all of the enzymes needed to convert wood into sugars themselves.

Professor McQueen-Mason, of the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) in the Department of Biology at York, said: "This may provide clues as to how this conversion could be performed in an industrial setting."

The scientists at York are now studying the enzymes to establish how they work, and whether they can be adapted to industrial applications. Perhaps one day soon seafarers will be sailing the seas on ships powered with biofuels produced with gribble enzymes.

Duncan Eggar, BBSRC Bioenergy Champion, said: "The world needs to quickly reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and sustainably produced bioenergy offers the potential to rapidly introduce liquid transport fuels into our current energy mix."


'/>"/>

Contact: David Garner
dcg501@york.ac.uk
44-190-443-2153
University of York
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Solving an avian scourge could also provide benefits to human health
2. March of Dimes provides $2.6 million in new funding for preterm birth research
3. A deadly scorpion provides a safe pesticide
4. Study provides insight into pathway linked to obesity
5. Sweet corn study provides large-scale picture of better fields
6. BIO-key(R) Provides Update to Special Shareholder Meeting
7. New research provides insights into potential ecological costs and cobenefits of REDD
8. ERC provides millions for biodiversity research
9. Joint US-Norwegian study provides new insights into marine ecosystems and fisheries production
10. TGen provides Arizona with $77 million in annual economic impact
11. All tied up: Tethered protein provides long-sought answer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Seafarers' scourge provides hope for biofuel future
(Date:4/17/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), ... Report on Form 10-K on Thursday April 13, 2017 with the ... The ... section of the Company,s website at http://www.nxt-id.com  under "SEC Filings," ... 2016 Year Highlights: Acquisition of ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Research and Markets has announced ... report to their offering. ... global eye tracking market to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% ... Tracking Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth market ... landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell Science today ... one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into the human ... first application of deep learning to create predictive models ... and a growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen ... future publicly available resources created and shared by the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... FirstHand program has won a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the FirstHand ... Excellence in Volunteer Experience from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... of 13 prestigious awards honoring scientists who have made outstanding ... a scheduled symposium during Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition for ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... San Antonio, Texas (PRWEB) , ... ... ... a new study published on October 5, 2017, in the medical journal, ... demonstrated equivalence with the gold standard, video EEG, in detecting generalized tonic-clonic ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... On Tuesday, October ... on INSIGhT, the first-ever adaptive clinical trial for glioblastoma (GBM). The featured speaker ... is free and open to the public, but registration is required. , WHAT: ...
Breaking Biology Technology: