E. coli from Bovine Rumen Produces Ethanol from Corn Stalk


Lignocellulose in plants is composed of cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin. The special construction of three constituents led to the prevention of effective degradation. Researchers from Inner Mongolia University of Technology, led by Jian Pang, investigated the potential of bacteria from bovine rumen for use in chemicals and biofuel production from lignocellulose.

A cellulolytic Escherichia coli strain, ZH-4, was isolated from Inner Mongolia bovine rumen. Enzyme activity analysis showed that this strain produces extracellular cellulases with enhanced exoglucanase activity, endoglucanase activity, and β-glucosidase activity. The team tested the strain for ethanol production and produced 0.36 g/L ethanol and 4.71 mL/g hydrogen from corn straw.

This study marks the first time a cellulolytic E. coli was isolated from bovine rumen. This provides a great opportunity to produce biofuels and chemicals directly from engineered E. coli.


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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