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ENZYMATIC HYDROLYSIS OF CELLULOSE BY ANAEROBIC MICROORGANISMS.

Objective

THE LONG TERM OF THE WORK IS TO:
(A) PRODUCE A VIABLE ECONOMIC PROCESS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF FERMENTABLE GLUCOSE USING THE EXTRACELLULAR ENZYMES ELABORATED BY RUMEN ANAEROBIC FUNGI WHICH HAVE BEEN ISOLATED RECENTLY AT THE ROWETT INSTITUTE;
(B) IMPROVE THE EFFICIENCY OF THE DIRECT FERMENTATION OF THE CELLULOSE TO ETHANOL BY THE ANAEROBIC BACTERIUM CLOSTRIDIUM THERMOCELLUM; IMPROVE THE HYDROLYSIS OF CELLULOSE TO GLUCOSE USING C.THERMOCELLUM CELLULASE ALONE OR IN COMBINATION WITH THE CELLULASES OF OTHER CELLULOLYTIC MICROORGANISMS.
ALL OF THESE ASPECTS OF THE WORK INVOLVE STUDIES ON THE BASIC MECHANISM OF CELLULASE ACTION, AND THIS APPROACH IS BEING USED IN THE BELIEF THAT REALISATION OF THE FULL POTENTIAL OF THE CELLULASES OF THESE MICROORGANISMS IS DEPENDENT ON A GOOD UNDERSTANDING OF THE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN THE VARIOUS ENZYMES THAT COMPRISE THE CELLULASE SYSTEMS.

IT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED THAT THE EXTRACELLULAR CELLULASE OF THE ANAEROBIC RUMEN FUNGUS NEOCALLIMASTIX FRONTALIS IS REMARKABLE IN ITS CAPACITY FOR EFFECTING THE BREAKDOWN OF CRYSTALLINE CELLULOSE. INDEED, IN COMPARATIVE TESTS CARRIED OUT BY THE AUTHORS, HTIS CELLULASE WOULD APPEAR TO BE MORE ACTIVE THAN THE CELLULASE OF THE FUNGUSTRICHODERMA REESEI, WHICH IS BEING STUDIED WORLD WIDE FOR ITS COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL FOR CONVERTING CELLULOSIC WASTE TO FERMENTABLE GLUCOSE. FRACTIONATION AND OTHER STUDIES ON THE EXTRACELLULAR CELLULASE OF N.FRONTALIS HAVE SHOWN IT TO CONTAIN ENDO-1, 4-BETA-GLUCANASE, BETA-GLUCOSIDASE AND OTHER FACTOR. PRELIMINARY TESTS WOULD SUGGEST THAT THE OTHER FACTOR IS A CELLOBIOHYDROLASE, AND THAT THIS MAY EXIST AS A COMPLEX WITH SOME ENDO-1,4-BETA-GLUCANASE AND BETA-GLUCOSIDASE ENZYMES. FUTURE WORK WILL CONCENTRATE ON ESTABLISHING THE REASONS FOR THE HIGH ACTIVITY OF THE CELLULASE OF RK21 ON CRYSTALLINE CELLULOSE.
THE WORK ON C.THERMOCELLUM IS PRESENTLY DIRECTED TOWARDS A COMPARISON OF THE EXTRACELLULAR CELLULASE ACTIVITY PRODUCED BY DIFFERENT STRAINS OF THE BACTERIUM GROWN IN DIFFERENT MEDIA.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

ROWETT RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Address
Greenburn Road
AB21 9SB Aberdeen
United Kingdom

Participants (2)

FEDERAL RESEARCH CENTRE FOR FORESTRY AND FOREST PRODUCTS
Germany
Address
Leuschnerstrasse 91
21031 Hamburg
INSTITUT PASTEUR
France
Address
Rue Du Docteur Roux 25
75724 Paris