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Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2014 Apr;19:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2013.11.015. Epub 2013 Dec 25.

Exploring bacterial lignin degradation.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1460, USA.
2
Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1460, USA; Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1460, USA. Electronic address: mcchang@berkeley.edu.

Abstract

Plant biomass represents a renewable carbon feedstock that could potentially be used to replace a significant level of petroleum-derived chemicals. One major challenge in its utilization is that the majority of this carbon is trapped in the recalcitrant structural polymers of the plant cell wall. Deconstruction of lignin is a key step in the processing of biomass to useful monomers but remains challenging. Microbial systems can provide molecular information on lignin depolymerization as they have evolved to break lignin down using metalloenzyme-dependent radical pathways. Both fungi and bacteria have been observed to metabolize lignin; however, their differential reactivity with this substrate indicates that they may utilize different chemical strategies for its breakdown. This review will discuss recent advances in studying bacterial lignin degradation as an approach to exploring greater diversity in the environment.

PMID:
24780273
DOI:
10.1016/j.cbpa.2013.11.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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