NREL Explains the Higher Cellulolytic Activity of a Vital Microorganism

Research output: NRELFact Sheet


The discovery of a new mode of action by C. thermocellum to convert biomass to biofuels is significant because the bacterium is already recognized as one of the most effective in the biosphere. Researchers found that, in addition to using common cellulase degradation mechanisms attached to cells, C. thermocellum also uses a new category of cell-free scaffolded enzymes. The new discovery will influence the strategies used to improve the cellulolytic activity of biomass degrading microbes going forward. Better understanding of this bacterium could lead to cheaper production of ethanol and drop-in fuels. Also, this discovery demonstrates that nature's biomass conversion behaviors are not fully understood and remain as opportunities for future microbial/enzyme engineering efforts.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2016

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/FS-2700-66598


  • bioenergy
  • biofuel
  • biomass
  • C.thermocellum


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