U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


New Method Allows Genetic Manipulation of Cellulose Degrading Clostridia
Published: September 20, 2010
Posted: November 03, 2010

To be most useful for biofuel production, microbes need to have useful biochemical properties and be manipulable genetically. The cellulose degrading bacterium Clostridium thermocellum, while a promising candidate for consolidated bioprocessing approaches to biofuel production, has significant genetic manipulation challenges that have limited understanding of its mechanisms of biomass deconstruction. Researchers at DOE's Bioenergy Science Center (BESC) now report a new method for genetic modification of C. thermocellum in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This new method enabled the construction of a mutant lacking the gene for one of the organism's major cellulase enzymes, Cel48S. The mutant depolymerizes crystalline cellulose 80% slower than the parent strain but, given sufficient time, it is still capable of complete cellulose degradation. This finding demonstrates that although Cel48S plays a major role in cellulose degradation, other less understood enzymes also contribute to this process and require further study. This result represents an important step forward in our ability to engineer this organism for bioenergy applications.

Reference: Olson, D. G. et al. 2010. "Deletion of the Cel48S Cellulase from Clostridium thermocellum," PNAS doi/pnas.1003584107

Contact: Joseph Graber, SC-23.2, (301) 903-1239
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC)
  • Research Area: Biosystems Design

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)