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Bioresour Technol. 2013 Feb;129:156-63. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2012.10.164. Epub 2012 Nov 16.

A versatile and robust aerotolerant microbial community capable of cellulosic ethanol production.

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Department of Chemistry and Biology, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada.


The use of microbial communities in the conversion of cellulosic materials to bio-ethanol has the potential to improve the economic competitiveness of this biofuel and subsequently lessen our dependency on fossil fuel-based energy sources. Interactions between functionally different microbial groups within a community can expand habitat range, including the creation of anaerobic microenvironments. Currently, research focussing on exploring the nature of the interactions occurring during cellulose degradation and ethanol production within mixed microbial communities has been limited. The aim of this study was to enrich and characterize a cellulolytic bacterial community, and determine if ethanol is a major soluble end-product. Cellulolytic activity by the community was observed in both non-reduced and pre-reduced media, with ethanol and acetate being major fermentation products. Similar results were obtained when sterile wastewater extract was provided as nutrient. Several community members showed high similarity to Clostridium species with overlapping metabolic capabilities, suggesting clostridial functional redundancy.

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