Hot Springs Microbe May Hold Key to Biofuel Production
by Joanna Schroeder (DomesticFuel.com) Researchers from the University of California Berkeley and the University of Maryland School of Medicine have discovered a microbe in a Nevada hot spring that enjoys eating cellulose (aka plant material) at temperatures above the boiling point of water, 109 degrees Celsius or 228 degrees Fahrenheit. This microbe could hold a key in developing technologies to improve the breakdown of cellulose, an important step in turning biomass to biofuels. The research is being published today in the online journal, Nature Communications.
The hyperthermophilic microbe was discovered in a geothermal pool and is only the second member of the ancient group Archaea known to grow by digesting cellulose above 80℃. In addition, the microbe is the most heat tolerant enzyme found an any cellulose-digesting microbe including bacteria. READ MORE and MORE (University of California-Berkeley) Abstract