Cricket bacteria breaks down lignin – Opens pathways for biofuels : Biofuels Digest

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In North Carolina, researchers at North Carolina State University discovered that a bacterium found in camel crickets is capable of breaking down lignin – the stuff that makes wood tough – opening new research pathways for the development of biofuels and chemical manufacturing.

The study also highlights the potential inherent in using ecosystem analysis as a tool for targeting research into the identification of commercially valuable microorganisms with industrial applications.

“One of the things that this work tells us is that there appears to be real value in using what we know about ecology, and the behavior of organisms in their environment, to target research efforts aimed at identifying useful microbial species,” says Stephanie Mathews, first author of a paper on the work and an assistant professor at Campbell University.

“For example, as we learned, if you are looking for microorganisms that can help break down lignocellulose, it makes sense to look at the microbial species found in animals that are able to eat plant matter that contains large quantities of lignocellulose,” says Mathews, who began work on the study while a postdoctoral researcher at North Carolina State University.

 

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