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Endogenous Carbohydrate Esterases of Clostridium Thermocellum are Identified and Disrupted for Enhanced Isobutyl Acetate Production from Cellulose

Computer generated diagram demonstrating one of the chemical processes relevant to Trinh's research.

Esters are versatile chemicals with broad applications as flavors, fragrances, solvents, and biofuels. By using bioinformatics and enzymatic characterization, Cong Trinh’s group identified and genetically disrupted carbohydrate esterases responsible for hydrolysis of isobutyl acetate in Clostridium thermocellum. The team demonstrate that the esterase disruption significantly reduces the ester degradation and hence improves ester biosynthesis while not affecting the strain’s capability of effectively assimilating cellulose.

This work, published in Biotechnology and Bioengineering, advances the development of consolidated bioprocessing microbe for conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to designer bioesters.