Vishnivetskaya TA, Raman B, Phelps TJ, Podar M, Elkins JG
Thermal, anaerobic environments rich in decaying plant material are a potential source of novel cellulolytic bacteria. Samples collected from geothermal aquifers in the Yellowstone National Park (YNP) were used to select for cellulolytic thermophiles. Laboratory enrichments on dilute-acid pretreated plant biomass (switchgrass, Populus), and crystalline cellulose (Avicel) resulted in the isolation of 247 environmental clones. The majority of individual clones were affiliated with the cellulolytic bacteria of phylum Firmicutes, followed by xylanolytic and saccharolytic members of the phylum Dictyoglomi. Among the Firmicutes, the clones were affiliated with the genera Caldicellulosiruptor (54.4%), Caloramator (11.5%), Thermoanaerobacter (8.8%), Thermovenabulum (4.1%), and Clostridium (2.0%). From established anaerobic thermophilic enrichments a total of 81 single strains of the genera Caldicellulosiruptor (57%) and Thermoanaerobacter (43%) were isolated. With continuous flow enrichment on Avicel, increases in the relative abundance of Caloramator sp. was observed over clones detected from the Caldicellulosiruptor. Complex communities of interacting microorganisms bring about cellulose decomposition in nature, therefore using up-to-date approaches may yield novel cellulolytic microorganisms with high activity and a rapid rate of biomass conversion to biofuels.
Vishnivetskaya TA, Raman B, Phelps TJ, Podar M, Elkins JG. 2012. Cellulolytic microorganisms from thermal environments, p. 131-158. In Anitori RP (ed.), Extremophiles: Microbiology and Biotechnology. Caister Academic Press, Hethersett, Norwich, UK.