Japanese researchers discover how certain bacteria break down cellulose

October 12, 2020 |

In Japan, researchers have uncovered details of how a certain type of bacteria breaks down cellulose—a finding that could help reduce the cost and environmental impact of the use of biomass, including biofuel production. The bacteria’s cellulose degradation system is in some way different from how a fungus is already widely used in industry, including to soften up denim to make stone-washed jeans. In a paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry on August 18th, researchers from Japan’s Institute for Molecular Science, National Institutes of Natural Sciences (IMS, NINS) have finally described this system in detail at the single-molecule level.

In earlier research, the NINS scientists had already established that the structure of the linker region of the fungal cellobiohydrolase played a crucial role in how fast the enzyme binds to cellulose (and thus how fast the system degrades cellulose).

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Category: Research

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