Lignocellulosic materials form a huge part of the plant biomass from agricultural and forestry wastes. They consist of three major components: cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Cellulose, the main constituent of plant cell wall, is a polymer of D-glucopyranose units linked by β -1,4-glucosidic bonds. Cellulose can be degraded to simple sugar components by means of enzymatic hydrolysis. However, due to its complex, crystalline structure it is difficult to break it down and the cooperative action of a variety of cellulolytic enzymes is necessary. Fungi are known to have potential in production of a variety of cellulolytic enzymes. The aim of this work is to discover new thermostable and robust cellulolytic enzymes for improved enzymatic hydrolysis of biomass. For this purpose two screening methods are applied in different fungal strains with high cellulolytic activities: an expression-based method using suppression subtractive hybridization and a targeted genomic screening approach using degenerate PCR. Suppression subtractive hybridization facilitates identification of genes encoding cellulolytic enzymes that are expressed when cultivating a fungal strain in medium with cellulose as the carbon source. By means of degenerate PCR, specific genes, homologous to the genes of previously classified glycoside hydrolases from CAZY database, are searched for in selected strains of Aspergillus sp., Trichoderma sp. and Penicillium sp. Both methods are anticipated to facilitate identification of target genes which subsequently will be cloned and expressed in a relevant fungal host for further characterization of the expressed enzymes. The goal is to introduce new enzymes to industrial processes.
Full conference title:
10th EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON FUNGAL GENETICS
- ECFG 10th (2010)