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:1/4/2017)... LAS VEGAS , Jan. 4, 2017  For the thousands of ... , a global leader in connected health and biometric measurement devices and ... pressure monitors. On display in A&D Medical,s special CES ... monitors represent the ongoing expansion of the company,s WellnessConnected product ... ...
(Date:12/20/2016)... 2016 The rising popularity of mobility ... is stoking significant interest in keyless access systems. ... low energy (BLE), biometrics and near-field communication (NFC) ... of wireless technologies in the automotive industry. This ... access systems opens the market to specialist companies ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... NEW YORK , Dec. 16, 2016 The global ... reach USD 12.14 billion by 2021 from USD 5.31 billion in ... ... market is mainly driven by technological advancements in medical devices, launch ... devices, rising preference for wireless connectivity among healthcare providers, and increasing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... FireflySci has been busy rolling out ... diverse customer base. The latest entry in this field is a series of ... Bio-Rad. FireflySci is introducing three distinct varieties including a 10x1mm, 10x2 and 10x4 ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... , ... January 12, 2017 ... ... devices with short response times capable of performing routine electrochemical biosensing has ... screen-printed electrodes provide fast, sensitive detection and quantification of various analytes in ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... Jan. 12, 2017   Protein Sciences Corporation ... of Flublok Influenza Vaccine ®, announced today ... had good safety results and induced strong neutralizing ... The product is expected to advance into human ... addition, the Institute of Technology in Immunobiologicals of ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... ... January 11, 2017 , ... Phase 1 clinical trial data ... the investigational anti-cancer agent tucatinib (formerly ONT-380) against HER2+ breast cancer. The 50 ... of these heavily pretreated patients saw clinical benefit from the drug, with at ...
Breaking Biology Technology: