Cellulose ethanol: use of termite enzymes

Termites at the pump?

The second generation of biofuels should make it possible to produce bioethanol from lignocellulosic materials, in particular by enzymatic hydrolysis.

Researchers at the University of Florida have looked for new types of enzymes in well-known agents of wood degradation, termites. They thus probed the intestines of these insects and analyzed the “digestome”, ie all the genes belonging to insects and their bacterial symbionts involved in digestion.

The first results made it possible to identify interesting enzymes for the production of ethanol. In addition, researchers have shown that the digestion of cellulose occurs in two stages.

The enzymes of the termites partially digest the wood then the enzymes secreted by the bacteria take over.

Source: NewObs, 11 / 08.

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