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Title: Bioavailability of Carbohydrate Content in Natural and Transgenic Switchgrasses for the Extreme Thermophile Caldicellulosiruptor bescii

ABSTRACT Improving access to the carbohydrate content of lignocellulose is key to reducing recalcitrance for microbial deconstruction and conversion to fuels and chemicals. Caldicellulosiruptor bescii completely solubilizes naked microcrystalline cellulose, yet this transformation is impeded within the context of the plant cell wall by a network of lignin and hemicellulose. Here, the bioavailability of carbohydrates toC. bescii at 70°C was examined for reduced lignin transgenic switchgrass lines COMT3(+) and MYB Trans, their corresponding parental lines (cultivar Alamo) COMT3(–) and MYB wild type (WT), and the natural variant cultivar Cave-in-Rock (CR). Transgenic modification improved carbohydrate solubilization by C. bescii to 15% (2.3-fold) for MYB and to 36% (1.5-fold) for COMT, comparable to the levels achieved for the natural variant, CR (36%). Carbohydrate solubilization was nearly doubled after two consecutive microbial fermentations compared to one microbial step, but it never exceeded 50% overall. Hydrothermal treatment (180°C) prior to microbial steps improved solubilization 3.7-fold for the most recalcitrant line (MYB WT) and increased carbohydrate recovery to nearly 50% for the least recalcitrant lines [COMT3(+) and CR]. Alternating microbial and hydrothermal steps (T→M→T→M) further increased bioavailability, achieving carbohydrate solubilization ranging from 50% for MYB WT to above 70% for COMT3(+) and CR. Incomplete carbohydratemore » solubilization suggests that cellulose in the highly lignified residue was inaccessible; indeed, residue from the T→M→T→M treatment was primarily glucan and inert materials (lignin and ash). While C. bescii could significantly solubilize the transgenic switchgrass lines and natural variant tested here, additional or alternative strategies (physical, chemical, enzymatic, and/or genetic) are needed to eliminate recalcitrance.« less
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  1. North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  5. Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 83; Journal Issue: 17; Journal ID: ISSN 0099-2240
American Society for Microbiology
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; Caldicellulosiruptor; switchgrass; lignocellulose deconstruction and conversion; extreme thermophiles; lignocellulose
OSTI Identifier: