How exceedingly odd. The cellproduces a protein scaffold on its surface that induces other molecules to transform. This is not something one would have everexpected but there it is.
Obviously if may be possible to crack cellulose without the cell having toingest the molecule at great effort. Wesee a cell basically tooling along and cracking molecules it comes across withno complications to itself. That may bea bit optimistic but it is even plausible now.
Just cracking cellulose which is a string of glucose molecules would be arevolution. It would provide all the glucosefeedstock we ever needed and convert all plant waste available into an easilyusable feedstock(s) that is easily transported and worked with.
It is well worth seeing where this ends up.
Can Engineered Bugs HelpGenerate Biofuels
The versatile organism Lactococcus lactis, the workhorse bacterium that helpsturn milk into cheese, may also be valuable in the understanding of howmicrobes turn the organic compound cellulose into biofuels.
New research from
, published in the journalMicrobial Cell Factories, suggests the bacterium can be engineered to transformplant material into biofuels or other chemicals. Concordia University
Concordia biology professor Vincent Martin and his PhD studentAndrew Wieczorek demonstrated how structural or scaffolding proteins on thesurface of the bacteria can be engineered in Lactococcus lactis towards thebreakdown of plant material.
They showed how thesescaffold proteins were successful in providing a stable surface outside thecell for chemical activity, e.g. the transformation of plantmaterial into biofuels.
"This is thefirst study to show how the scaffolding proteins, can be secreted and localizedto the cell surface of Lactococcus," says Dr. Martin, who is also CanadaResearch Chair in Microbial Genomics and Engineering.
"Exporting theseproteins and localizing them to the outside of the cell is a huge milestone.This can enhance the efficiency of any bioprocesses or the breakdown of organicmaterials."
What's promising aboutthis research, stresses Professor Martin, is how the scaffolding proteins ofLactococcus lactis appear to bond with multiple compounds. "Our next stepwill be to engineer larger more complex scaffolds that can encourage otherbio-processes that can eventually enhance the yield of fuels in a manner thatis commercially viable."