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Plenary Lecture 7: Lignocellulose degradation by enriched microbial consortia from cow rumen and termite gut

Thursday 27th November 2014 - 10:05 to 10:40
INI Seminar Room 1
Co-authors: Lucas Auer (idem), Adèle Lazuca (idem), Maider Abadie (idem), Gunnar Oelker (idem)

Bioconversion of lignocellulosic biomass into energy and synthons of industrial interest is of current concern to reduce the fossil energy dependence. Lignocellulose can be converted into carboxylates which can be used to produce added-value products (e.g biofuels or bioplastics). Such transformation can be realized by microbial consortia issued from the digestive tract ruminants and phytophage insects. Our aim was to produce microbial consortia displaying stable microbial diversity, high lignocellulolytic potential and high capacity to produce carboxylates using termite gut and cow rumen microbiomes. We also wanted to correlate the functional diversity of these consortia with their enzymatic activity and lignocellulose degradation profiles. To this aim, we studied the lignocellulolytic capacities of cow rumen and gut microbiomes of four species of tropical termites (Termes hospes, Microcerotermes parvus, Nasutitermes lujae and N. ephratae). Lignocellulose transformation was tested in anaerobic reactors (35°C) using wheat straw as sole carbon source. Carboxylate production and residual lignocellulosic substrate were regularly monitored during the incubation period (15 d). Our data showed that gut microbiomes from N. ephratae displayed high capacities to degrade lignocellulose. N. ephratae cow rumen microbiomes were selected to enrich the most active lignocellulolytic spe cies by sequencing batch reactor process. After 10-12 cycles, stable consortia were obtained. Sequencing of 16S rRNA gene showed important differences in the functional species present in these ecosystems compared to the initial communities. The enzymatic activities (endoglucanase, ß-glucosidase, xylanase, ß-xylosidase), mainly associated to the cell biomass, suggested the production of cellulosome-like systems. In this presentation, insights in enzymes activities and diversity will be discussed, providing better understanding of lignocellulose deconstruction by microbial consortia.

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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons