NREL leads work on bacterium research to boost advanced biofuel production yields

February 9, 2016 |

In Colorado, researchers at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) say better understanding of a bacterium could lead to cheaper production of cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels.

Their discovery was made during an investigation into the performance of Clostridium thermocellum. The scientists found the microorganism utilizes the common cellulase degradation mechanisms known today (free enzymes and scaffolded enzyme attached to the cell), and a new category of scaffolded enzymes not attached to the cell.

The discovery came as a surprise to the researchers and explains the superior performance of C. thermocellum on biomass. A paper reporting the potential for the bacterium, “Dramatic performance of Clostridium Thermocellum explained by its wide range of cellulase modalities,” appears in the current issue of the journal Science Advances.

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Category: Research

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