Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

All Chewed Up

One of the key steps in biofuel production is to break down the biomass into sugars that can be developed into the fuel, and for sources like switchgrass that means chewing up hard lignin. Researchers from the Joint BioEnergy Institute and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory turned to a proteogenomic analysis of thermophilic bacteria to study them and their component proteins that can break down switchgrass lignin into sugar.

As they report in PLOS One, they found that Rhodothermus, Paenibacillus, and Gemmatimonadetes were likely important populations for breaking biomass down. In addition, Thermus appeared to be a metabolizer of low-molecular weight compounds.

"The list of genes and enzymes generated by this study has been placed into our expression pipeline and are being used to develop optimized cocktails that are capable of generating high sugar yields from pretreated lignocellulosic biomass," Blake Simmons, a chemical engineer in JBEI's Deconstruction Division, adds in a statement.