Researchers identify bacterium that breaks down biomass without pretreatment

In Washington, the conventional strategy for producing ethanol from plant biomass requires costly pretreatment and enzyme-driven reactions. Refining another strategy known as consolidated bioprocessing (CPB) could reduce costs. In second-generation CPB, a microorganism splits of water and ferments the products to ethanol, reducing the cost. Now, scientists engineered a strain of a CBP bacterium called Caldicellulosiruptor bescii that efficiently breaks down biomass without pretreatment. The microbe produces ethanol, demonstrating the successful conversion of switchgrass cellulosic biomass.

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