Microbial Cellulose Utilization

A special issue of Microorganisms (ISSN 2076-2607). This special issue belongs to the section "Microbial Biotechnology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 March 2023) | Viewed by 7054

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA
Interests: microbial cellulose utilization; metabolic engineering; innovative biomass processing technologies; sustainable bioenergy futures

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA
Interests: microbial cellulose utilization; consolidated bioprocessing; lignocellulose-fermenting microbiomes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Microbial cellulose utilization is responsible for one of the largest material flows in the global carbon cycle, enables food production in ruminants, is the basis for established agricultural and industrial processes, and is widely expected to play an expanded role in the bioeconomy. While we still have more to learn about the biotransformation of cellulose and hemicellulose via enzymes acting in the absence of microbial cells, substantial additional complexities and knowledge frontiers accompany the consideration of such biotransformation by intact microbial cells. These include but are not limited to:

  • Regulation and presentation of cellulases, hemicellases, and other carbohydrate-active enzymes;
  • Kinetics and extent of microbially-mediated biomass deconstruction;
  • Enzyme–microbe and microbe–microbe interactions impacting deconstruction, including but not limited to synergies;
  • Transformation of lignocellulose in ecological, biogeochemical, agricultural, and industrial contexts.

Contributions are sought for a Special Issue on microbial utilization (conversion, deconstruction) of lignocellulose and components thereof. Fundamental topics of interest include but are not limited to kinetics, adhesion and biofilm formation, characterization of relevant surface phenomena, ternary enzyme-microbial-insoluble substrate complexes, hemicellulose deconstruction, and functional characterization of lignocellulose-fermenting cocultures and microbiomes. Applied contexts of interest include but are not limited to the global carbon cycle, agricultural processes (e.g., the rumen, ensiling, anaerobic digestion, composting, soil carbon transformations), and the production of renewable fuels and chemicals.

Preference will be given to studies involving deconstruction of insoluble substrates and feedstocks by live microorganism rather than exclusively by cell-free enzymes. Our primary interest is in original research articles, but we also can accommodate a limited number of reviews.

Prof. Dr. Lee R. Lynd
Dr. Evert K. Holwerda
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • microbial cellulose utilization
  • consolidated bioprocessing
  • lignocellulose-fermenting microbiomes

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 1605 KiB  
Article
Sorption of Cellulases in Biofilm Enhances Cellulose Degradation by Bacillus subtilis
by Yijie Deng and Shiao Y. Wang
Microorganisms 2022, 10(8), 1505; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms10081505 - 26 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1967
Abstract
Biofilm commonly forms on the surfaces of cellulosic biomass but its roles in cellulose degradation remain largely unexplored. We used Bacillus subtilis to study possible mechanisms and the contributions of two major biofilm components, extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) and TasA protein, to submerged biofilm [...] Read more.
Biofilm commonly forms on the surfaces of cellulosic biomass but its roles in cellulose degradation remain largely unexplored. We used Bacillus subtilis to study possible mechanisms and the contributions of two major biofilm components, extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) and TasA protein, to submerged biofilm formation on cellulose and its degradation. We found that biofilm produced by B. subtilis is able to absorb exogenous cellulase added to the culture medium and also retain self-produced cellulase within the biofilm matrix. The bacteria that produced more biofilm degraded more cellulose compared to strains that produced less biofilm. Knockout strains that lacked both EPS and TasA formed a smaller amount of submerged biofilm on cellulose than the wild-type strain and also degraded less cellulose. Imaging of biofilm on cellulose suggests that bacteria, cellulose, and cellulases form cellulolytic biofilm complexes that facilitate synergistic cellulose degradation. This study brings additional insight into the important functions of biofilm in cellulose degradation and could potentiate the development of biofilm-based technology to enhance biomass degradation for biofuel production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Cellulose Utilization)
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Review

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30 pages, 803 KiB  
Review
Degradation of Cellulose and Hemicellulose by Ruminal Microorganisms
by Paul J. Weimer
Microorganisms 2022, 10(12), 2345; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms10122345 - 27 Nov 2022
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 4239
Abstract
As major structural components of plant cell walls, cellulose and hemicellulose are degraded and fermented by anaerobic microbes in the rumen to produce volatile fatty acids, the main nutrient source for the host. Cellulose degradation is carried out primarily by specialist bacteria, with [...] Read more.
As major structural components of plant cell walls, cellulose and hemicellulose are degraded and fermented by anaerobic microbes in the rumen to produce volatile fatty acids, the main nutrient source for the host. Cellulose degradation is carried out primarily by specialist bacteria, with additional contributions from protists and fungi, via a variety of mechanisms. Hemicelluloses are hydrolyzed by cellulolytic bacteria and by generalist, non-cellulolytic microbes, largely via extracellular enzymes. Cellulose hydrolysis follows first-order kinetics and its rate is limited by available substrate surface area. Nevertheless, its rate is at least an order of magnitude more rapid than in anaerobic digesters, due to near-obligatory adherence of microbial cells to the cellulose surface, and a lack of downstream inhibitory effects; in the host animal, fiber degradation rate is also enhanced by the unique process of rumination. Cellulolytic and hemicellulolytic microbes exhibit intense competition and amensalism, but they also display mutualistic interactions with microbes at other trophic levels. Collectively, the fiber-degrading community of the rumen displays functional redundancy, partial niche overlap, and convergence of catabolic pathways that all contribute to stability of the ruminal fermentation. The superior hydrolytic and fermentative capabilities of ruminal fiber degraders make them promising candidates for several fermentation technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Cellulose Utilization)
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