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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Oct 31;103(44):16165-9. Epub 2006 Oct 23.

Enzyme-microbe synergy during cellulose hydrolysis by Clostridium thermocellum.

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  • 1Thayer School of Engineering and Department of Biology, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.

Erratum in

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Dec 19;103(51):19605.


Specific cellulose hydrolysis rates (g of cellulose/g of cellulase per h) were shown to be substantially higher (2.7- to 4.7-fold) for growing cultures of Clostridium thermocellum as compared with purified cellulase preparations from this organism in controlled experiments involving both batch and continuous cultures. This "enzyme-microbe synergy" requires the presence of metabolically active cellulolytic microbes, is not explained by removal of hydrolysis products from the bulk fermentation broth, and appears due to surface phenomena involving adherent cellulolytic microorganisms. Results support the desirability of biotechnological processes featuring microbial conversion of cellulosic biomass to ethanol (or other products) in the absence of added saccharolytic enzymes.

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