Exploration of Natural Biomass Utilization Systems (NBUS) for advanced biofuel-from systems biology to synthetic design

来源: 时间:June 24, 2014, 2:52 a.m.

Efficient degradation and utilization of lignocellulosic biomass remains a challenge for sustainable and affordable biofuels. Various natural biomass utilization systems (NBUS) evolved the capacity to combat the recalcitrance of plant cell walls. The study of these NBUS could enable the development of efficient and cost-effective biocatalysts, microorganisms, and bioprocesses for biofuels and bioproducts. Here, we reviewed the recent research progresses for several NBUS, ranging from single cell microorganisms to consortiums such as cattle rumen and insect guts. These studies aided the discovery of biomass-degrading enzymes and the elucidation of the evolutionary and functional relevance in these systems. In particular, advances in the next generation ‘omics’ technologies offered new opportunities to explore NBUS in a high-throughput manner. Systems biology helped to facilitate the rapid biocatalyst discovery and detailed mechanism analysis, which could in turn guide the reverse design of engineered microorganisms and bioprocesses for cost-effective and efficient biomass conversion.

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